Don’t try telling someone from Melbourne that Sydney has great sporting activities. The ‘Mexicans’, those people living south of the border between Victoria and New South Wales and thus south of the great metropolis of Sydney, reckon that Melbourne is the sporting capital of the world let alone Australia. But without looking very hard, if you want sport in Sydney there is plenty of a wide variety of activities.
Rugby League football in Australia is seriously strong in Sydney. There is a national league of sorts with a team in Canberra and another in Melbourne but New South Wales and Queensland are the mainstays of the game with Sydney having more teams than any other city. If you wish to see rugby league in Sydney in season, you’ve got a big choice. Mind you more spectators prefer their armchairs or local pub as rugby league is the most watched televised football code Down Under. In mid-winter NSW plays Queensland in the Origin series - best of three matches and boy does that get some publicity. The Sydney media is awash with Origin scuttlebutt.
In summer cricket is popular in Sydney. There will always be a Test match at the famous SCG or Sydney Cricket Ground and being summer and the holidays, people come from all over the state to this annual event. Now that the limited overs games have become so popular, there will always be games of 50 or 20 overs a side at the SCG. There is a state based T20 competition and even a commercial one involving the best national and international players. Limited overs cricket is big in Sydney.
And one sport which will always be fantastic to participate in and watch in Sydney is yacht racing on the Harbour. The ocean-going yachts including thegiant maxi yachts set off from Sydney on Boxing Day setting sail for Hobart way down south. What a sight as hordes of people line the shores of the harbour to watch the colourful spinnakers in full flight as the fleet takes off for Tassie. There are hordes of small spectator boats bobbing around all wanting a sailor’s eye view and even a few nutcases on jet ski or surf board. Sailing is very big in Sydney.
The sport of kings is huge in the Harbour city. There are almost 200 country and provincial racecourses in New South Wales and Sydney has four with Royal Randwick arguably the top weight in a fine field. It has the longest history as well as the longest straight and plays host to many fine races including the Doncaster, the Derby, the Oaks and the Sydney Cup. It’s almost walking distance from the CBD and is a very popular course. Rosehill or Rosehill Gardens to give it its full name is out Parramatta Way some 23 kilometres from town and can be reached by train, car [there’s good parking] or by ferry from Circular Quay and free bus. Now that’s making a day to remember at the races. The Golden Slipper for young horses is a famous and featured event. Canterbury Park and Warwick Farm are the other Sydney courses and hold mainly midweek meetings with more of a picnic atmosphere.