NRL ROUND 9 PREVIEW
SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS v NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
Friday 10th May, 7:35pm, ANZ Stadium
Rabbitohs: Greg Inglis, Nathan Merritt, Beau Champion, Bryson Goodwin, Andrew Everingham, John Sutton, Adam Reynolds, Dave Tyrrell, Issac Luke, Roy Asotasi, Chris McQueen, Ben Te’o, Sam Burgess. Interchange: Nathan Peats, Jason Clark, Ben Lowe, George Burgess, Jeff Lima, Justin Hunt
Cowboys: Matthew Bowen, Ashley Graham, Brent Tate, Kane Linnett, Antonio Winterstein, Johnathan Thurston (c), Michael Morgan, Matthew Scott (c), Rory Kostjasyn, James Tamou, Tariq Sims, Gavin Cooper, Dallas Johnson. Interchange: Ray Thompson, Glenn Hall, Joel Riethmuller, Ashton Sims, Scott Bolton, Scott Moore
South Sydney face their second QLD based opponent in as many weeks and having seen how they dealt with the Broncos last week, the Cowboys would have plenty to be worried about. I’m not referring to the quality of the 2013 Rabbitohs as being concerning for the Cowboys. It’s their own rather lacklustre performances that are the concern. We all know they have the cattle to launch a potentially successful tilt at the premiership but seem to be failing to get past 90% effort in any of their games. If they choose to play at 90% for this game then they will be punished by their merciless opposition.
The Rabbitohs are continuing to get stronger and their fringe players are really starting to chime in and contribute to keeping the red and green juggernaut rolling forward.
Mike’s Tip: Rabbitohs
WESTS TIGERS v CRONULLA SHARKS
Friday 10th May, 7.35pm, Allianz Stadium
Wests Tigers: James Tedesco, Matt Utai, Joel Reddy, Tim Simona, Marika Koroibete, Benji Marshall, Curtis Sironen, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah (c), Suaso Sue, Liam Fulton, Adam Blair, Eddy Pettybourne. Interchange: Ben Murdoch-Masila, Jack Buchanan, Sean Spence, Bodene Thompson
Sharks: Michael Gordon, Sosaia Feki, Ben Pomeroy, Jonathan Wright, Beau Ryan, Todd Carney, Jeff Robson, Andrew Fifita, John Morris, Ben Ross, Luke Lewis, Wade Graham, Chris Heighington. Interchange: Isaac De Gois, Sam Tagataese, Jayson Bukuya, Anthony Tupou, Mark Taufua
The Wests Tigers find themselves in a bad position heading into Round 9 and I’m not just referring to their last position on the NRL ladder. They are still without plenty of their best players due to injury and this side still looks a little way off finding their feet with the latest roster reshuffle.
The Sharks on the contrary head into Round 9 with new hope thanks to their win over the Knights last week without their best player Paul Gallen. The Sharks played some great footy on their way to a golden point victory but one couldn’t help notice the help they received from the Knights who were in and out of the game and really underlined the meaning of the word ‘inconsistent’.
Aside from that I’m still going to be tipping the Sharks but don’t have much confidence in any bets for this match as I just can’t predict what either side are going to throw up for this one.
Mike’s Tip: Sharks
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Team to Convert Most Tries – Sharks @ $1.65
Mike’s Best Bet: None
NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS v CANTERBURY BULLDOGS
Saturday 11th May, 7:30pm, Westpac Stadium
Warriors: Glen Fisiiahi, Bill Tupou, Ben Henry, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Russell Packer, Feleti Mateo, Simon Mannering (c), Todd Lowrie. Interchange: Ben Matulino, Jacob Lillyman, Elijah Taylor, Pita Godinet, Carlos Tuimavave
Bulldogs: Ben Barba, Mitch Brown, Josh Morris, Tim Lafai, Sam Perrett, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Aiden Tolman, Michael Ennis (c), Sam Kasiano, Tony Williams, Frank Pritchard, Greg Eastwood. Interchange: Dene Halatau, Josh Jackson, James Graham, Dale Finucane, Martin Taupau, Tim Browne
Both teams enter this contest with a record of 4 wins from their last 8 matches played against each other.
Last week the Warriors held on to beat the Titans by a point and moved themselves off the bottom of the ladder but I can’t say I was overly impressed by their overall performance. The New Zealand side definitely have a problem with their performances in the final quarter of a match and it showed again last Sunday when they allowed the Titans to score 18 late points.
The Bulldogs wiped the floor with their opponents and although the Tigers had been ravaged by injuries and were hardly ever looking like winning, the Bulldogs put on an impressive attacking demonstration with some newfound cohesiveness (rediscovered from 2012). It was all backed up by the reintroduction of James Graham and Sam Kasiano to the team and both of those big boppers will be better for the hit out last week. There’s a bit of value to be had here and I’m diving in head first for some Bulldogs action. Be sure to check my best bet using the link below.
Mike’s Tip: Bulldogs
PARRAMATTA EELS v BRISBANE BRONCOS
Saturday 11th May, 7:30pm, Parramatta Stadium
Eels: Jarryd Hayne (c), Ken Sio, Ryan Morgan, Jacob Loko, Vai Toutai, Luke Kelly, Chris Sandow, Fuifui Moimoi, Matt Keating, Tim Mannah, Reni Maitua (c), Kelepi Tanginoa, Peni Terepo. Interchange: Kaysa Pritchard, Darcy Lussick, Joseph Paulo, Mitch Allgood, Api Pewhairangi
Broncos: Corey Norman, Josh Hoffman, Jack Reed, Justin Hodges, Jordan Kahu, Scott Prince, Peter Wallace, Ben Hannant, Andrew McCullough, Sam Thaiday (c), Alex Glenn, Matt Gillett, Corey Parker. Interchange: Ben Hunt, Scott Anderson, David Hala, Jarrod Wallace, Josh McGuire, David Stagg
Parramatta have what I would say is an ever tougher task this week than the one they faced last week against the Cowboys when they almost snatched victory in the dying minutes. The Eels V Cowboys game was a show of two teams who are seemingly unable to compete at a level of high standard for 80 minutes. Whilst I’ll give the Eels some credit for the fact that they did indeed play hard, it was simply not good enough. To produce some of that same material this week against the Broncos is going to see them get beat. It will be interesting to see if Coach Ricky Stuart has anything up his sleeve.
The Broncos competed well but were simply outclassed by a Rabbitohs side that probably would have defeated any opponent on that night. The loss will have the Broncos eager to bounce back and continue their progress up the premiership ladder.
Of their 4wins this year the Broncos average win margin is 12 points. They should prove to be too strong for Parramatta and using that 12 point average I’m going to select a line for the Broncos to beat. See my best bet below.
Mike’s Tip: Broncos
CANBERRA RAIDERS v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Sunday 12th May, 2:00pm, Canberra Stadium
Raiders: Reece Robinson, Sandor Earl, Jack Wighton, Blake Ferguson, Edrick Lee, Terry Campese (c), Josh McCrone, Dane Tilse, Matt McIlwrick, Brett White, Joel Edwards, Joe Picker, Shaun Fensom. Interchange: Anthony Milford, Jake Foster, David Shillington, Paul Vaughan, Shaun Berrigan
Knights: Darius Boyd, James McManus, Dane Gagai, Timana Tahu, Akuila Uate, Kurt Gidley (c), Tyrone Roberts, Kade Snowden, Travis Waddell, Willie Mason, Robbie Rochow, Alex McKinnon, Chris Houston. Interchange: Matt Hilder, Neville Costigan, Adam Cuthbertson, David Fa’alogo, Korbin Sims
The Knights have the task of heading to the nation’s capital to take on the Raiders and it’s not a challenge they have shirked in recent times. The Knights have won 4 of the last 5 matches against the Raiders and two of those victories have been in Canberra. In a bid to bounce back from their golden point loss to the Sharks last week they must defeat a Raiders side that is coming off a win against competition favourites the Storm. Defeating the Storm will provide the Canberra side with a massive confidence boost and hopefully for their supporters they don’t choose to take it easy this week simply because they have proven their talents. It’s a mistake they have made more than a few times in the past but I’m backing the Raiders to avoid such a lapse and snatch victory in chilly Canberra.
Mike’s Tip: Raiders
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Half Time/Full Time – Canberra/Canberra @ $2.08
Mike’s Best Bet: None
GOLD COAST TITANS v ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
Sunday 12th May, 3:00pm, Skilled Park
Titans: William Zillman, Kevin Gordon, Brad Takairangi, Jamal Idris, David Mead, Aidan Sezer, Albert Kelly, Luke Bailey, Beau Falloon, Luke Douglas, Greg Bird, Mark Minichiello, Nate Myles. Interchange: David Taylor, Ryan James, Ben Ridge, Sam Irwin, Mark Ioane
Dragons: Jason Nightingale, Brett Morris, Chase Stanley, Matt Cooper, Daniel Vidot, Jamie Soward, Nathan Fien, Dan Hunt, Mitch Rein, Jack Stockwell, Tyson Frizell, Ben Creagh (c), Trent Merrin. Interchange: Bronson Harrison, Matt Prior, Jack de Belin, Michael Weyman
The Titans would have come away from last week’s loss against the Warriors wishing they had aimed up in the 20 minutes after half time and they most likely would have come away with a win. It was a tough game to gather true form from thanks to a massive head wind that the Titans had to contend with in the first half but I was pleased with the effort the players put in, especially when having to contend the second half without halfback Albert Kelly. Two weeks on the sideline clearly did Dave Taylor the world of good as he applied himself in a fantastic hands-on effort in both attack and defence. Look for him to have a big game this week.
The Dragons took their Round 8 game down to the wire against the fancied Sea Eagles but they may have been a bit flattered by the score line after they failed to turn 57% of possession into a win. Their inconsistency makes them hard to back, especially when they are on the road against a Titans side welcoming back speedsters Kevin Gordon and David Mead.
Mike’s Tip: Titans
Mike’s Suggested Bet: One for the multis – Titans -1.5 @ $1.58 (Centrebet)
Mike’s Best Bet: None
PENRITH PANTHERS v MELBOURNE STORM
Sunday 12th May, 6:30pm, Centrebet Stadium
Panthers: Matt Moylan, Travis Robinson, Lewis Brown, Dean Whare, David Simmons, Isaac John, Luke Walsh, Nigel Plum, Kevin Kingston (c), Tim Grant, Sika Manu, Matt Robinson, Adam Docker. Interchange: Mose Masoe, Sam Anderson, James Segeyaro, Clint Newton, Nathan Smith
Storm: Billy Slater, Sisa Waqa, Will Chambers, Justin O’Neill, Mahe Fonua, Gareth Widdop, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith (c), Bryan Norrie, Kevin Proctor, Ryan Hoffman, Tohu Harris. Interchange: Jason Ryles, Junior Moors, Maurice Blair, Brett Finch, Slade Griffin, Lagi Setu, Kenneath Bromwich
Many pundits are claiming that Melbourne’s loss to the Raiders last week was one they had to have and I wholeheartedly agree. I thought it might have happened earlier in the season as they had to contend with a gruelling schedule which consisted of short turnarounds between games and plenty of kilometres being racked up travelling the country. (Not to mention the World Club Challenge trip to the UK).
The Panthers are backing up from a loss to the Roosters where they managed to compete for the first half and showed a bit of fight. In the second half the Roosters ran away with the game quite comfortably as the Panthers displayed their usual capitulation.
The Panthers must be taking the Storm’s recent loss as an ominous sign because the Melbourne side rarely lose two games in a row outside the State of Origin period. The Storm have rested up through the week and could come out and put a big score on the Panthers.
Mike’s Tip: Storm
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Mahe Fonua to score a try @ $2.00 (Sportsbet)
Mike’s Best Bet: None
MANLY SEA EAGLES v SYDNEY ROOSTERS
Monday 13th May, 7:00pm, Brookvale Oval
Sea Eagles: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon (c), Steve Matai, David Williams, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Brenton Lawrence, Matt Ballin, Brent Kite, Anthony Watmough, Justin Horo, Glenn Stewart. Interchange: James Hasson, Tom Symonds, Jamie Buhrer, George Rose, Esi Tonga
Roosters: Anthony Minichiello (c), Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jake Friend, Martin Kennedy, Mitchell Aubusson, Sonny Bill Williams, Boyd Cordner. Interchange: Daniel Mortimer, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Aidan Guerra, Luke O’Donnell
The game of the round takes place at Brookvale Oval and I think the venue is going to play a major part in the outcome of this one. The Sea Eagles play such a tough and relentless brand of footy that can be turned up a notch at a moment’s notice. When they play at Brookvale they are even better. The Chooks have been a bit iffy away from home. They scraped home against the Warriors by 2 points and lost to the Raiders in their two away games this year and I don’t think the Sea Eagles will be at all generous.
A mouth watering battle is the one that sees Steve Matai and Sonny Bill Williams pitted against each other and we know that the higher the profile of the player, the harder Matai likes to hit them.
So it’s Manly to win and we’ll add 1.5 to the score just in case it gets close.
Mike’s Tip: Sea Eagles
Mike’s Suggested Bet: Sea Eagles +1.5 @ $1.96 (Centrebet)
Mike’s Best Bet: None