The 2016 NRL season continues this weekend as we enter round 9 of the competition. We take a look at all the action and offer our NRL Round 9 Preview and Betting Tips.
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South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Wests Tigers (Thursday 7.50pm AEDT)
The Tigers were absolutely embarrassed last week and they suffered one of the biggest defeats in the clubs history as the Raiders ran in 60 points against them. It was far too easy for the Green Machine as they pierced the Tigers defence far too easy. The Tigers were clearly missing Aaron Woods in the middle of the field as the big forward is a great defender whilst he has a big workload that they need to replace.
Meanwhile the Rabbitohs stuck it to the Broncos for the first 30 minutes of the match as they were solid in defence and held their own on their goal line. However, two quick tries to the Broncos just before half time really hurt the side and whilst they did regroup for the first period of the second half and narrowed the lead, the Broncos showed their class to run away with the match as the Rabbitohs errors continued to cost them. To make matters worse for the side, Adam Reynolds appears to have reinjured his jaw that he broke in the opening round of the season. This will force Cody Walker back into the side to partner Luke Keary in the halves for this contest.
The Tigers head into this contest on the back of six straight losses and we are expecting the Rabbitohs to extend that streak as they break return to winning ways on the back of a superior forward pack.
Parramatta Eels vs Canterbury Bulldogs (Friday 7.50pm AEDT)
The Bulldogs inconsistencies continued last week as they looked to have the Titans on the ropes but they allowed their opposition back into the competition. They were forced into golden point and luckily for them Tyrone Roberts missed his opportunity whilst Josh Reynolds didn’t waste his chance at a field goal. The Bulldogs need to find a way to put together a strong 80-minute performance that they have shown they can throughout the season with their forward pack laying the platform and Moses Mbye and Josh Reynolds creating space on the back of that.
The scoreboard doesn’t show the story in the Eels loss on the weekend to the Cowboys. They were in the contest until the final 20-minutes and they were looking threatening but Corey Norman was sent to the sin bin for 10-minutes for a professional foul and it was the turning point of the match. The Eels have already defeated the Bulldogs this season in a dominant match that saw them concede just one try despite the Bulldogs having the majority of the possession. Semi Radradra ran riot in that match and he is due for another big performance as the Eels will win on the back of their defence.
UPDATE: Captain Kieran Foran has been stood down indefinitely by the Eels to deal with his personal issues. This is a massive blow for the Eels as they have played their best with their star recruit halfback on the field. We are now changing out tip to the Bulldogs to win by a close margin with the Eels defence keeping them in the contest.
Penrith Panthers vs Canberra Raiders (Saturday 3pm AEDT)
The Panthers again let another match slip away for them as they lost their fifth match by less than 8-points. They have been in all of their matches this season and just haven’t been able to find that extra effort to get themselves over the line. Jamie Soward missed a conversion with just minutes remaining in the match that would have levelled the scores against the Sharks and they couldn’t produce a miracle with their final possession of the match. The Panthers will be bolstered by the return of James Segyaro at hooker which is perfect timing for the club with Te Maire Martin succumbing to an injury.
Meanwhile the Raiders put back-to-back massive losses behind them as they produced their best performance of the season and showed everyone why they are considered to be one of the best attacking teams in the competition. A four try performance by Jordan Rapana was the back story to another superb match from hooker Josh Hodgson who had three try assists and four line break assists. They were also without star five-eighth Blake Austin who generally produces a lot of their tries and it was a positive sign for the side to be able to score a large amount of points without him.
The Raiders will be looking to build on their performance from last week and whilst they will be facing tougher opposition we are backing them to earn the win in this one.
Sydney Roosters vs Newcastle Knights (Saturday 5.30pm AEDT)
The battle of the bottom two placed sides will be held on Saturday night with Roosters fans rejoicing as they will welcome back two of their star players. Mitchell Pearce will return at halfback after spending the first 8-weeks on the sidelines due to suspension for his Australia Day antics. Meanwhile Jared Waerea-Hargreaves will be healthy after recovering from an ACL injury. Boyd Cordner made a successful return for the Roosters on Monday but it wasn’t enough to see the tri-colours earn their second win of the year. Coach Trent Robinson expressed his displeasure for the refereeing decisions that constantly put his side on the back foot and gave the Dragons a chance to extend their lead.
The Knights suffered another loss, as they were their own worst enemy in the opening 20-minutes. Twice they dropped the ball over the line and it could have been a great start to the match for them and they were left to rue those chances as playmaker Jarrod Mullen went down with a hamstring injury and the Knights weren’t able to create quality chances without him. Mullen will be on the sidelines for an extended period of time and it will hurt the sides chances of avoiding the wooden spoon.
The Roosters forward pack will be bolstered whilst they should be able to create a lot more opportunities with Pearce back in the side as halfback. It will also take a lot of pressure off the youngster Jackson Hastings to be controlling the match and he should excel in the five-eighth position. The Chookies will snap their losing streak.
Manly Sea Eagles vs North Queensland Cowboys (Saturday 7.30pm AEDT)
The Cowboys continued their winning ways as they held onto second spot on the ladder over the weekend. They managed to get revenge for their earlier loss this season to the Eels as they kept their undefeated streak at home alive. Their attack remains the best in the league as they managed to score 32 points against a great Eels defence. The defending champions combinations are continuing to grow as the team has been playing together for over a year now.
The Sea Eagles earned their fourth win of the season as they pushed into the top eight but it came at a cost with Tom Trbojevic and Brett Stewart succumbing to injuries. This will leave the side without their first two choices at fullback this weekend. However, on a positive note Daly Cherry-Evans made an earlier return form injury than expected and had arguably his best performance of the season albeit against a struggling Newcastle Knights side.
The Cowboys and Broncos are continuing to show they are the two dominant sides in the competition and with the injuries to the Sea Eagles key personal, the defending champions will win this one comfortably.
New Zealand Warriors vs St George Illawarra Dragons (Sunday 12pm AEDT)
The Dragons picked up their fourth win of the season and their second consecutive victory. However, they were helped with a few refereeing decisions going their way throughout the match. They managed to score 20-points but they were helped with an intercept try and two early tries. Their attack still is the worst in the competition but it could be helped with Benji Marshall expected to make his long awaited return from a hamstring injury this weekend.
The Warriors put on their worst performance of the season, as they were embarrassed on Anzac Day. They were defeated 42-0 and it only got worse for the side as they will lose Tuimoala Lolohea to injury and they will need to dip deep into their squad to find their third string fullback for this contest. Simon Mannering was taken from the field with a bad cut to his face but he will be able to return this weekend. The Warriors will need to show more fight in defence if they are to win this contest and we are expecting them to come out firing to make amends for their disappointing loss.
UPDATE: The Warriors will be without 6 more of their star players after they have been stood down for an indescrition after their loss against the Storm last week. It is antoher massive blow for the home side who will already be without key players due to their recent run of injuries. Due to these changes we will be changing out tip in favour of the Dragons.
Gold Coast Titans vs Melbourne Storm (Sunday 2pm AEDT)
The Storm had their best win of the season on Monday as they dominated the Warriors from the outset of the contest. They blew them off the park in the opening 20-minutes as they put together their best attacking display of the season. Cooper Cronk returned to form as he had a strong running game whilst he created a lot of opportunities for his outside players. Cameron Smith also had a solid game but he could be in a bit of trouble at the Judiciary after he placed his hands on the referee.
The Titans almost picked up another come from behind victory, as another slow start to the match was their downfall. They have given up a lead in every match this season and they can’t afford to allow the Storm to gain the upper hand in this one as they are one of the best sides in the competition at grinding out a victory. Greg Bird had a standout performance and he will be a guarantee for a New South Wales jersey this season. Ashley Taylor will return to the sides line up in a massive boost but it won’t be enough to see the Titans win as the Storm will earn their second victory against the club this season.
Cronulla Sharks vs Brisbane Broncos (Sunday 4pm AEDT)
The weekend finishes on Sunday with arguably the biggest match of the round. The Sharks will be hosting the current front-runners of the competition in a first verse fourth match. The Sharks have lost just two matches this season and are currently on a five match-winning streak. The halves pairing of Chad Townsend and James Maloney is beginning to develop nicely as Maloney is putting his hand up for a State of Origin recall whilst Chad Townsend had a man of the match performance. Their balance of experienced forwards and young back line that has a lot of talent is working together perfectly as their forwards are laying a great platform.
The Broncos have lost just one game all season and sit alone on the top of the table. Their defence has leaked just 81 points at an average of just ten points a game. They back that up by having the second best offence in the league and they have scored over 20 points in every match since the opening round of the season. It is no secret that a lot of this is due to the superb performances of Anthony Milford but Ben Hunt is beginning to stamp himself into every match as he regains the form that saw him carry his side to a Grand Final appearance last season.
This will be a great match up with the forward packs having a similar quality and x-factor whilst the backs and halves pairing will be just as enticing. I am backing the Broncos to find a way to win as they will put in a full 80-minute performance and have a better combination whilst the Sharks are still have some developing left in them.
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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