NRL Round 9 Preview and Tips




Parramatta Eels v Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs

ANZ Stadium, 7:35pm (local).

EELS: Jarryd Hayne, Luke Burt, Ryan Morgan, Willie Tonga, Ken Sio, Ben Roberts, Casey McGuire, Tim Mannah, Matthew Keating, Matt Ryan, Nathan Hindmarsh (c), Joseph Paulo, Reni Maitua. Interchange: Chris Sandow, Fuifui Moimoi, Justin Poore, Mitchell Allgood

BULLDOGS: Ben Barba, Jonathan Wright, Josh Morris, Timoteo Lafai, Bryson Goodwin, Josh Reynolds, Kris Keating, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis, Sam Kasiano, Frank Pritchard, Dene Halatau, Greg Eastwood. Interchange (from): James Graham, David Stagg, Corey Payne, Joel Romelo, Martin Taupau

Still no Chris Sandow in the starting line up for the Eels this week as he is promoted to the interchange bench from his stint in the NSW Cup last week.

Without Sandow at the helm last week, the Eels went down to the Tigers 31-30 and amazingly scored all 30 points in the last 15 minutes of the game. It was great to watch for Eels fans but at the end of the day you don’t get competition points for close finishes and the poor form from the Parramatta clan rolls on.

The Bulldogs also went down narrowly last week to a defensively driven Manly side. The Bulldogs’ main issue in the last few weeks has been their inability to put substantial points on the scoreboard and in their last 3 games the Bulldogs have averaged a measly 9 points per game.

I’m tipping the Bulldogs to win but it could be a fairly close affair making the Eels with a points start an attractive prospect.

This match up marks Luke Burt’s 250th NRL game.

Chance of winning: Eels 41%, Bulldogs 58%, Draw 1%

Mike’s Tip: Bulldogs

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Take the Eels +7.5 at around the $1.80 mark.


North Queensland Cowboys v St George Illawarra Dragons

Dairy Farmers Stadium, 7:35pm (local).

COWBOYS: Matthew Bowen, Ashley Graham, Brent Tate, Antonio Winterstein, Kalifa Faifai Loa, Johnathan Thurston (c), Ray Thompson, Ashton Sims, Aaron Payne, James Tamou, Gavin Cooper, Tariq Sims, Dallas Johnson. Interchange (from): James Segeyaro, Scott Bolton, Ricky Thorby, Jason Taumalolo, Glenn Hall 

DRAGONS: Brett Morris, Daniel Vidot, Kyle Stanley, Matt Cooper, Jason Nightingale, Jamie Soward, Ben Hornby (c), Dan Hunt, Mitch Rein, Michael Weyman, Matt Prior, Ben Creagh, Dean Young. Interchange: Nathan Fien, Jeremy Latimore, Trent Merrin, Jack de Belin

It’s 4th vs. 5th with the Dragons sitting on 5 wins for the season whilst the home team has 4 wins in what has been seen by the Cowboys as a solid start to the season. Being the home team will prove to be a big advantage in this one judging by the past 4 encounters between these two sides where the home team has won each time. The bookies seem to have the same line of thinking after posting the Cowboys as $1.68 favourites earlier in the week and they could be ready to bounce back after a disappointing yet close loss to the Rabbitohs last week where they lost by 4 points after putting on a late match flurry of points.

The Dragons also put on some late points of their own before pulling off what seemed to be an impossible victory. Did they use up their luck last week? I think so and I’ll be tipping the Cowboys to bounce back.

Chance of winning: Cowboys 53%, Dragons 46%, Draw 1%

Mike’s Tip: Cowboys

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Take the 1st scoring play to be a Cowboys try.



NZ Warriors v Brisbane Broncos

Mt Smart Stadium, 7:30pm (local).

WARRIORS: Jerome Ropati, Bill Tupou, Ben Henry, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, James Maloney, Shaun Johnson, Russell Packer, Nathan Friend, Ben Matulino, Elijah Taylor, Simon Mannering (C), Feleti Mateo. Interchange (from): Lewis Brown, Ukuma Ta’Ai, Sione Lousi, Pita Godinet, Krisnan Inu

BRONCOS: Josh Hoffman, Gerard Beale, Jack Reed, Justin Hodges, Dale Copley, Corey Norman, Peter Wallace, Ben Hannant, Andrew McCullough, Petero Civoniceva, Alex Glenn, Sam Thaiday (c), Corey Parker. Interchange: Ben Hunt, Josh McGuire, Matt Gillett, Ben Te’o

I said pre-season that I’m not expecting the Warriors to back up their Grand Final appearance with a finals berth in 2012 and so far they haven’t disappointed me. They have notched up 3 wins this season against teams outside the top 8. Two of them are cellar dwellers the Titans and the Eels.

The only upside I see for the Warriors this week is Krisnan Inu  being dropped probably partly due to his costly show boating antics last week and he will be replaced by exciting rookie Konrad Hurrell.

At the other end of the ladder are the Broncos who are embracing life without Darren Lockyer and slaying all who dare to go before them. They are grinding out good wins even if, by their own admission, they are failing to maintain their intensity for the full 80 minutes.

Looking at the basics of it makes the Broncos price of $1.70 very appealing to me whether it’s played in New Zealand or not.

Chance of winning: Broncos 55%, Warriors 44%, Draw 1%

Mike’s Tip: Broncos

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Broncos Head to Head.


Gold Coast Titans v Wests Tigers

Skilled Park, 7:30pm (local).

TITANS: Phil Graham, Kevin Gordon, Jamal Idris, Dominique Peyroux, David Mead, William Zillman, Aidan Sezer, Luke Bailey, Matt Srama, Nate Myles, Greg Bird, Luke O’Dwyer, Ashley Harrison. Interchange (from): Matthew White, Luke Douglas, Mark Minichiello, Bodene Thompson, Michael Henderson

TIGERS: Tim Moltzen, Beau Ryan, Joel Reddy, Chris Lawrence, Lote Tuqiri, Benji Marshall, Tom Humble, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah, Keith Galloway, Adam Blair, Liam Fulton, Matt Bell. Interchange: Ben Murdoch-Masila, Blake Ayshford, Ray Cashmere, Junior Moors

At 31-0 up with 15 minutes to go in last week’s match against bottom of the table Eels, the Tigers were feeling pretty good about themselves. All of a sudden they looked at the final scoreboard and they had scraped home by 31-30. What happened?! Whatever it was that happened, it will be enough to have coach Tim Sheens turning the screws on his players at training this week to make sure it won’t happen again and that he won’t drop another f-bomb during a post game press conference.

The Titans had another tragic outing last week and honestly, no matter who they were to play this week, I couldn’t bring myself to tip them. They lacked defensive intensity, attacking cohesion and compounded it all with 14 handling errors.

Improvement is imminent for the Gold Coast side but I’m sensible and am tipping the Tigers.

Chance of winning: Titans 42%, Tigers 57%, Draw 1%

Mike’s Tip: Tigers

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Take the Tigers to lead at half time and full time – HT/FT Tigers/Tigers.


Penrith Panthers v Melbourne Storm

Centrebet Stadium, 7:30pm (local).

PANTHERS: Lachlan Coote, David Simmons, Michael Jennings, Geoff Daniela, Brad Tighe, Blake Austin, Luke Walsh, Sam Mckendry, Travis Burns, Tim Grant, Cameron Ciraldo, Danny Galea, Luke Lewis (c). Interchange (from): Ryan Simpkins, Dayne Weston, Clint Newton, Matt Robinson, Chris Armit

STORM: Billy Slater, Matt Duffie, Dane Nielsen, Will Chambers, Justin O’Neill, Gareth Widdop, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith, Bryan Norrie, Kevin Proctor, Ryan Hoffman, Todd Lowrie. Interchange (from): Ryan Hinchcliffe, Rory Kostjasyn, Siosaia Vave, Jason Ryles, Anthony Quinn, Jaiman Lowe

The Storm are the form team of the competition and I’d go as far as to say that the Panthers are the worst team form wise at the moment. The Panther’s three key players Luke Lewis, Luke Walsh and Michael Jennings have been named to play but it’s yet to be seen if they will be playing at 100% thanks to injuries they all lucklessly suffered last round.

There are no changes to the Storm side who are playing a very Craig Bellamy brand of footy and will be looking for a win that will give them their 10th straight win against the Panthers.

It’s not a sure thing but I’m willing to back Will Chambers to score a try at any point in the game based on his week by week increasing level of form.

Chance of winning: Panthers 35%, Storm 64%, Draw 1%

Mike’s Tip: Storm

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Will Chambers to score a try.



Manly Sea Eagles v Canberra Raiders

Brookvale Oval, 2:00pm (local).

SEA EAGLES: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon (c), Steve Matai, David Williams, Liam Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Jason King (c), Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Jamie Buhrer, Glenn Stewart. Interchange (from): Vic Mauro, Joe Galuvao, Darcy Lussick, George Rose, Daniel Harrison

RAIDERS: Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson, Jarrod Croker, Shaun Berrigan, Reece Robinson, Josh McCrone, Sam Williams, David Shillington, Travis Waddell, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Josh Papalii, Joel Thompson, Shaun Fensom. Interchange (from): Joe Picker, Bronson Harrison, Sam Mataora, Dane Tilse, Jack Wighton, Matt McIlwrick

The NRL road train heads to Brookvale Oval for just the 3rd time in 2012 and Manly are 2 from 2 at ‘The Fortress’ this year. The Sea Eagles are coming off the back of a gutsy win against the Bulldogs which seems to have brought them back to the form that many have been expecting from them. The return of Glen Stewart last week was a major boost and he will be much better for the run this time around.

The Raiders fortunes have been of an opposite nature which has seen them in recent weeks lose their key playmaker Terry Campese, and ultimately, lose their form. The upside has been that fullback Josh Dugan has returned and will be playing out of his skin to try and impress NSW coach Ricky Stuart into giving him a spot in his State of Origin team.

The suggested bet this week will be on Brett Stewart scoring a try at any time during the game. Stewart really found some form last week and his current record at Brookvale Oval stands at 59 tries from 63 games.

Chance of winning: Sea Eagles 59%, Raiders 40%, Draw 1%

Mike’s Tip: Sea Eagles

Mike’s Suggested Bet: Brett Stewart to score a try.


Sydney Roosters v Newcastle Knights

Allianz Stadium, 3:00pm (local).

ROOSTERS: Anthony Minichiello, Peni Tagive, Joseph ‘BJ’ Leilua, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Sam Perrett, Braith Anasta, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Martin Kennedy, Aidan Guerra, Mitchell Aubusson, Tinirau Arona. Interchange (from): Jack Bosden, Lama Tasi, Brad Takairangi, Mose Masoe, Boyd Cordner

KNIGHTS: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Wes Naiqama, Timana Tahu, Akuila Uate, Jarrod Mullen, Tyrone Roberts, Kade Snowden, Matt Hilder, Evarn Tuimavave, Chris Houston, Zeb Taia, Neville Costigan. Interchange: Joel Edwards, Willie Mason, Alex McKinnon, TBA

Last week was a sobering time for both teams. The Roosters had their game against the Dragons seemingly in the bag before they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory to go down in the final minute of the game.

The Knights on the other hand won their game but suffered some shattering injuries in the process to none less than Kurt Gidley and Danny Buderus. Gidley looks like he’ll miss the rest of the season after dislocating his shoulder whereas Buderus could miss a month with a niggling achilles injury. Buderus will be replaced by Matt Hilder but Hilder’s interchange replacement has yet to be named. Based on these crucial injuries alone I have to tip the Roosters who will be looking to bounce back from that heart breaking loss last week.

Chance of winning: Roosters 55%, Knights 44%, Draw 1%

Mike’s Tip: Roosters

Mike’s Suggested Bet: I’ll be taking the Roosters -1.5

(Team lists sourced from



South Sydney Rabbitohs v Cronulla Sharks

ANZ Stadium, 7:00pm (local)


RABBITOHS: Greg Inglis, Andrew Everingham, Matt King, Dylan  Farrell, Nathan Merritt, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Scott Geddes, Issac Luke, David Tyrrell, Eddy Pettybourne, David Taylor, Michael Crocker. Interchange (from): Jason Clark, Ben Lowe, Josh Starling, Chris McQueen, Shaune Corrigan


SHARKS: Matthew Wright, Stewart Mills, Ben Pomeroy, Colin Best, John Williams, Todd Carney, Jeff Robson, Bryce Gibbs, Isaac De Gois, Ben Ross, Jeremy Smith, Jayson Bukuya, Paul Gallen. Interchange (from): Andrew Fifita, Wade Graham, John Morris, Sam Tagataese, Mark Taufua


Chance of winning: Rabbitohs 47%, Sharks 52%, Draw 1%

Mike’s Tip: Sharks


Mike’s Suggested Bet: Take the Sharks to win head to head on enemy territory.


 (Team lists sourced from

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