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Super Rugby represents the biggest challenge of the lot

As hard as it is to pick winners in the NRL, AFL and A-League, there’s no doubt that when it comes to Super Rugby it’s proving extremely difficult.

Looking ahead to Round 10, you could analyse the Reds-Brumbies match until the cows come home and no matter who you settle on the other team is capable of getting the cash.

The Reds and Brumbies were great in New Zealand last weekend with wins over the Chiefs and Highlanders, respectively.

Perhaps the Reds’ win over the Chiefs had more merit considering they’re the current Super Rugby champions, and considering the Brisbane-based outfit are just about at full strength gives them a slight edge.

Don’t dismiss the Brumbies too easily because they have recorded plenty of big wins on the road this season against quality opposition and they will be primed for the Reds.

The battle between rival coaches Ewen McKenzie (Reds) and Jake White (Brumbies) should be just as compelling with both considered strong chances to succeed current Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.

Not willing to write off the Cheetahs after an honourable road loss at the hands of the Bulls last weekend, but they may find it tough going against the Sharks in Durban.

The Sharks went down narrowly to the Stormers in Cape Town last weekend and with their Australasian tour imminent they need a win to keep their finals hopes alive.

The Cheetahs have come to life in 2013 and are playing wonderful rugby, and would love to avenge their Round 2 loss at home at the hands of the Sharks and thus maintain their spot in the top six.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes should bounce back and account for the Force; expect the Chiefs to strike back against the Waratahs in Sydney; the Crusaders will start warm favourites against the disappointing Highlanders; and the Bulls will be pushed to the limit before prevailing in Port Elizabeth against the impressive Kings.

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It’s Round 4 in the AFL and good luck splitting Swans-Cats, Tigers-Magpies, Saints-Bombers, Suns-Power and Demons-Giants.

In contrast, the Hawks will take some stopping against the Dockers in Launceston; the home ground advantage is enough to ensure the Eagles victory over the Blues; the Crows are a good bet at home against the injury-riddle Bulldogs; and, in a game between two unpredictable teams, it’s time for the Kangaroos to deliver against the visiting Lions.

The Cats do compete well against the Swans at the SCG and were unlucky not to get the four points in the corresponding match last year, but are you willing to tip against the premiers after the way they dismantled the Kangaroos last weekend?

The Tigers are unchanged and are shooting for four straight wins; however, overcoming the Magpies in recent years has proven to be a difficult hurdle.

The Magpies have injury concerns which enhances the Tigers’ hopes, so the big question is whether the Tigers can strike while the iron is hot or if the Magpies can find something after slumping to the Hawks last weekend.

The Bombers were fantastic in Perth last weekend against the Dockers, but they have incurred injuries and suspensions that gives the Saints hope.

The Saints obliterated the Bombers at Etihad Stadium when last both teams clashed; however, the head tells you that a Bombers loss would come as a major surprise.

The Suns have played two games at home, posting a win against the Saints in Round 1 before an agonising loss at the hands of the Lions last weekend.

In other words, the Suns are clearly a tough side to beat at home these days.

However, the rampant and unbeaten Power heads to the Gold Coast as favourites after a memorable win over the Crows in the Showdown.

This game can go either way and the Suns will prove much tougher opposition than the Demons, who were the Power’s previous opponent when last they travelled.

If the Demons were playing any other team than the Giants you would be holding your breath.

And if the Demons were playing the Giants in Sydney instead of Melbourne in this current climate then the Giants would be considered as a strong chance.

A Giants win would be more of a shock than a Demons loss.

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As usual, the Kiwis can’t field their strongest team for the Anzac Test against the Kangaroos in Canberra.

Marshall might well have an injury, but isn’t it ironic that he’s missing for the Kiwis after having lost the captaincy.

The Kiwis won’t back down, but the Kangaroos are fielding an awesome line-up and should win comfortably.

The City Origin team has been decimated for their annual clash against Country Origin, so backing the boys from the bush to prevail in Coffs Harbour is not exactly fraught with danger.

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Finally, the A-League grand final should be a super contest as the Wanderers and Mariners have not only exuded consistency all season, but are clearly the best two teams in the competition.

It would be a shame to see the Wanderers stumble at this stage of the season, while the Mariners will be doing their best to avoid a fourth grand final loss.

The Wanderers, who are seeking a 13th straight win, are slight favourites and the fact the game is being played in Sydney is an added bonus.

The Mariners are resilient and can produce the goods when it counts — and wouldn’t they like to erase the memories of their grand final loss two years ago when they somehow let it slip against the Roar in Brisbane.


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