Round 9 in the NRL promises to be an exciting one with a full 8 game slate on offer. The action gets underway on Thursday night as the Titans host the Sharks and continues with a fantastic double header on Friday night. We take a look at every game in Round 9 and give our betting tips below.
Magic Round begins on Thursday night as the 4-4 Sharks take on the 14th placed Titans. Despite a number of injuries, Cronulla produced a 20-18 win over the Storm last week and they'll need to win these type of games for their top 8 hopes. Gold Coast are looking for their 3rd win of the season as they've struggled for consistency. They're coming off a 28-14 loss against the Cowboys and they also lost to the Sharks 20-6 earlier this season. This shapes as another fairly low scoring contest where the Sharks have some attacking players out and the Titans are one of the worst scoring teams in the NRL. As an underdog against the Sharks, the Titans also hold a 6-3 Unders record and they're 5-2 against it at Suncorp coming off a loss.
With Ivan Cleary now at the Panthers, this clash against the Tigers is becoming an interesting rivalry. The two sides played in a golden point thriller in the early rounds this season so this one hopefully lives up to expectations. Penrith are 2-6 on the season and they're definitely underachieving at the moment. Adding to a poor start is an injury list that is starting to grow. Meanwhile, Wests are a hard team to bet on at the moment with their last 3 games being decided by a 13+ margin, which they've lost 2 of those 3. But the return of Benji Marshall helps. The odds are saying this will be another close battle and it's basically a flip of a coin to pick a winner. So the total points look a tad low at 36.5 for a game at a neutral venue that should see both sides improve their scoring potential. The Panthers and Tigers don't have great defensive records at the moment either. Also, the Panthers are 6-0 against the Overs in interstate night games and 10-2 after playing in NSW.
On Friday night, the Broncos meet the Sea Eagles at Suncorp and both sides will have their injury/form concerns. For the Broncos, Andrew McCullough is a big out and James Roberts has been dropped. They're also playing halfback Tom Dearden in just his 2nd NRL game. Manly have similar issues with DCE on the sidelines and now Crocker will join him. So the halves pairing of Kane Elgey and Apisai Koroisau will be very inexperienced. It's hard to see the Broncos as favourites for this clash because their form is pretty dismal. I guess it's based on their 29-6 win over the Sharks at this venue last time out. While Manly should give them a run for their money, this looks like a low scoring affair purely based on the team changes.
Super Saturday in Magic Round starts with the 3-5 Knights taking on the 2-6 Bulldogs. This is really a crucial matchup for both sides as they battle to reach the top 8. Newcastle looks to be the form side after two wins on the trot, including a thrashing of the Warriors in NZ. Kalyn Ponga looks back at home in the fullback position and that can only help the Knights reach the finals this year. The Bulldogs battled hard against Manly last week but fell short 18-10. They do hold a 6-0 SU record against the Knights so their attack should hopefully improve this week. Since 2015, both sides have scored 13+ points in 4 of the last 5 meetings so that looks the best bet here in day football.
The NRL action continues on Saturday with an interesting clash between the Dragons and Warriors. Kodi Nikorima is already back at Suncorp after signing with the Warriors and he'll be out to prove a point. In a blow for the Dragons, Corey Norman is out for this clash and that hurts their scoring potential. Looking back to 2018, the Warriors went 2-0 against the Dragons with both games finishing under the total points. So that looks the best bet here. New Zealand's last trip to Australia resulted in a low scoring game in Melbourne and the Dragons previously kept the Roosters to just 20 points.
Super Saturday ends with a clash between 4th (Storm) and 5th (Eels) on the ladder. Melbourne comes into this game with a patchy form as they lost to the injury-hit Sharks and just got over the line against the Warriors previously. Meanwhile, Parramatta are a different side away from Bankwest Stadium it seems. They've smashed the Dragons and Tigers at the new stadium but in between those victories was a poor 28-14 loss in Newcastle. However, a good trend between these two sides looks to be the Unders. It's 5-1 when the Storm plays the Eels at any venue since 2015. Melbourne are the second-best defensive team in the NRL and that should see them keep the Eels at bay.
Canberra will aim for a statement win on Sunday as they tackle the red-hot 7-1 Roosters at Suncorp. The Raiders crushed the Panthers 30-12 last week but the victory was soured by the injury to John Bateman. Meanwhile, the Roosters were led by a Latrell Mitchell hat-trick in a 30 point victory over the Tigers. While the Raiders are the best defensive team in the competition at the moment, they haven't faced an attacking side like the Roosters as yet. So this shapes as a high scoring affair in day football between two sides that can score quick points. The Roosters also have a good points scoring record at Suncorp and the likes of Tedesco/Mitchell will be hard to contain.
On Sunday afternoon, the Rabbitohs are back from a 38-6 thrashing of the Broncos and they'll look to cement their ladder position against the Cowboys. However, North Queensland have been a bogey side for Souths for a while. They did beat the Cowboys by a field goal in both meetings last year but that was in a poor season for the North QLDers. Since 2011, the Cowboys are 6-1 ATS as an underdog against Souths and 10-3 ATS in the last 13 meetings. However, the Cowboys can be a hard team to read at times and they may struggle to stop the many attacking options that Souths possess. So this will be a no bet with the neutral venue in play and Souths coming off a long break since playing on Thursday last round.
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