By early September, as round 26 of the NRL season concludes, we’ll know the eight teams who will go into three weeks of mud-soaked mortal-knockout combat desperate for a coveted spot in the October 4 Grand Final.

If you’re visiting Sydney during the finals, you’ll be in no doubt that those most passionate about the NRL reside in the city where the league began way back in 1908. More than half the code is based here, and fierce rugby rivalries flourish – none more so than that between the Sydney Roosters and last year’s victors, the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Both teams are founding members of the NRL, and their 2014 finals bout was the most watched premiership match ever – outside a Grand Final – so a top-eight meet is a guaranteed highlight.

NRL Finals
The NRL Grand Final; Image Credit: Destination NSW

A question mark remains over the ability of last year’s runners up, Canterbury-Bankstown, to lift the trophy, but what would really break Sydney hearts is the very real prospect the 2015 final could be an all-Queensland clash between the Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland’s Cowboys. No matter who makes it to the Grand Final, the battle will take place in front of some 80,000 fans at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium, a spectacular arena built for the 2000 Olympic Games. The Allianz Stadium in Moore Park is also sure to be the scene of a number of nail-biting matches in the knockout rounds.

If you aim to savour every scrum at the Grand Final, the NRL has made it easier by reducing ticket prices to as low as $65 for non-members and $30 for kids. Expect a whole lot of razzmatazz, with lasers and pyrotechnics, a performance from true-blue rockers Cold Chisel and family-friendly activities throughout Olympic Park as the clock ticks down to kick-off.

No Grand Final tickets? Fear not, you won’t be able to avoid footy fever, with activities planned across the city, from supporter events in the communities of the finals teams (from September 29) and fan-packed open training sessions to live games action at pubs proudly displaying their club’s colours.

NRL Grand Final
The NRL Grand Final is a magnificent spectacle; Image Credit: Destination NSW

In the week leading up to the big match, the Dally M awards will see the player of the year announced, as well as gongs for the best coach and captain. The Grand Final Lunch will be held in the same week, with players from both teams pulling on sharp suits and politely eyeballing each other in one of their last off-pitch encounters before the big day. Tickets to the lunch are as rare as a Manly scarf in Parramatta, so if you miss out make a beeline for the Grand Final Footy Show on October 1st instead. Filmed in front of an audience of 8,500 at the Qantas Credit Union Arena, Channel 9’s boisterous mix of sporting analysis and tomfoolery is always a fan favourite.

If all that excitement exhausts you, head down to Sydney’s glorious waterfront, grab a cold one at Darling Harbour and kick back as the area is transformed into the hub of the city's off-pitch NRL activities from October 2. With the NRL final on the Sunday, and the AFL final in Melbourne the day before, the first weekend in October is a winner for sports fans, no matter what code you follow.

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Banner Image Credit: Dan Gosse, Destination NSW