NRL Round 9 Previews and Tips


Roosters v Tigers

Fri 9 May, 7:40pm, Allianz Stadium

Roosters: 1.Anthony Minichiello 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Michael Jennings 4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 5. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 6. James Maloney 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Sam Moa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Sonny Bill Williams 13. Aidan Guerra
Interchange: 14. Frank-Paul Nuuausala 15. Mitchell Aubusson 16. Isaac Liu 17. Remi Casty 18. Daniel Mortimer 19. Dylan Napa
Tigers: 1. Kurtis Rowe 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Keith Lulia 4. Chris Lawrence 5. Pat Richards 6. Blake Austin 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods 9. Joel Luani 10. Keith Galloway 11. Liam Fulton 12. Bodene Thompson 13. Adam Blair
Interchange: 14. Martin Taupau 15. Ava Seumanufagai 16. Cory Paterson 17.  Sitaleki Akauola


Mike’s Casual Bet: None

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Cowboys v Broncos

Fri 9 May, 7:40pm, Townsville Stadium

Cowboys: 1. Michael Morgan 2. Matthew Wright 3. Brent Tate 4. Kane Linnett 5. Curtis Rona 6. Johnathan Thurston 7. Ray Thompson 8. Matthew Scott 9. Rory Kostjasyn 10. James Tamou 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Jason Taumalolo 13. Tariq Sims
Interchange: 14. Cameron King 15. Glenn Hall 16. Ashton Sims 17. Scott Bolton
Broncos: 1. Ben Barba 2. Daniel Vidot 3. Jack Reed 4. Justin Hodges 5. Dale Copley 6. Josh Hoffman 7. Ben Hunt 8. Josh McGuire 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Martin Kennedy 11. Alex Glenn 12. Corey Parker 13. Matt Gillett
Interchange: 14. David Hala 15. Jarrod Wallace 16. Jake Granville 17. Corey Oates 18. Todd Lowrie

Mike’s Casual Bet: None

Mike’s Best Bet: None


Warriors v Raiders

Sat 10 May, 3:00pm, Eden Park

Warriors: 1. Sam Tomkins 2. Ngani Laumape 3. Konrad Hurrell 4. Ben Henry 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Chad Townsend 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Sam Rapira 9. Nathan Friend 10. Jacob Lillyman 11. Jayson Bukuya 12. Simon Mannering 13. Sebastine Ikahihifo
Interchange: 14. Feleti Mateo 15. Suaia Matagi 16. Sione Lousi 17. Ben Matulino 18. Kevin Locke
Raiders: 1. Anthony Milford 2. Reece Robinson 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Matthew Allwood 5. Bill Tupou 6. Jack Wighton 7. Terry Campese 8. Dane Tilse 9. Glen Buttriss 10. Brett White 11. Paul Vaughan 12. Joel Edwards 13. Shaun Fensom


At this point in time some rain is predicted to hit Auckland today, to be followed by thunderstorms on Saturday. But if there are any two teams that would cope best if it does turn out to be wet at Eden Park on Saturday, it’s these two.

The Warriors currently sit 13th on the ladder with Canberra right on their heels in 14th; a true reflection of how the two sides have been performing thus far.

The upside for the Warriors heading into this encounter is that they do so after beating the Storm in Melbourne last round 16-10, and it wasn’t as if the Storm played poorly that day.

That game partly resembled semi-final football and the Warriors played with vigour for the full 80.

On the downside is the fact that the Warriors are still yet to break their duck at Eden Park. There is just something about this venue that the Warriors dislike.

The Raiders’ would love to be coming into Round 9 off a giant killing win but instead they are likely still lamenting the punishment they took from Manly where at one stage they were down 42-0 after 33 minutes. The Raiders would have been lucky to beat an under 18’s side that day. Trying to bounce back from such a confidence shattering defeat would be tough when you have to next travel across the Tasman to take on the Warriors, but at least they had the entire two weeks over the representative fortnight to brush up on defensive deficiencies.

This game is probably a bit tough to pick a handicap confidently in my opinion as I really expect the Raiders to bounce back after a fortnight’s worth of training punishment under Ricky Stuart.

I do however rate this game as being a high scoring one and will be backing the ‘overs’ in total match points betting. PLEASE NOTE, you should monitor the weather and wait until the last minute if you decide to have a bet. If it’s bucketing rain before kickoff then it would be best to leave this game alone.


Mike’s Tip: Warriors

Mike’s Best Bet: Total match points ‘Over’ 40.5 in under/over betting @ $1.91 (Bet365)



Titans v Rabbitohs

Sat 10 May, 5:30pm, Robina Stadium

Titans: 1. David Mead 2. Kevin Gordon 3. William Zillman 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Anthony Don 6. Aidan Sezer 7. Albert Kelly 8. Luke Douglas 9. Beau Falloon 10. Nate Myles 11. Greg Bird 12. Dave Taylor 13. Ashley Harrison
Interchange: 14. Mark Ioane 15. Ryan James 16. Mark Minichiello 17. Matt Srama 18. Cody Nelson
Rabbitohs: 1. Greg Inglis 2. Alex Johnston 3. Dylan Walker 4. Kirisome Auva’a 5. Bryson Goodwin 6. John Sutton 7. Adam Reynolds 8. George Burgess 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. David Tyrrell 11. Kyle Turner 12. Ben Te’o 13. Sam Burgess
Interchange: 14. Cameron McInnes 15. Jason Clark 16. Chris McQueen 17. Luke Burgess 18. Joel Reddy 19. Ben Lowe 20. Joe Picker


With the Titans hosting one of the top sides in the Rabbitohs, it gives John Cartwright’s men a perfect opportunity to silence those that believe they are not truly worth of their currently acquired, equal 1st position on the ladder. The Titans’ performance at Leichhardt Oval in Round 8 may have been against a weakened Tigers side, but there was no doubting the convincing effort that the Titans applied in less than ideal conditions.

The Rabbitohs’ up and down start to the season in which multiple positional changes had the players failing to grasp their 2013 form, finally looked to have settled itself by about Round 5, but it then appeared a break was necessary after being followed up by some tough games. So the representative season has dropped itself into the calendar at what appears to be a perfect time for the Rabbitohs as they have now had two weeks to rejuvenate and come back to NRL footy having shorn up the defensive cracks that started to show through in their last match against the Broncos.

Head to head, and whilst the Titans have been good enough to win matches, and could also be good enough to beat the Rabbitohs on their day, I’m still more impressed by Souths’ season so far. The Bunnies certainly have more points in them, averaging 21.5 points in their last 4 matches. It would hard to see the Titans putting 22 points on a top side like the Rabbitohs when they are only averaging 18 points per game in attack for the season, whilst also conceding more points all year than the Rabbitohs have.

The $1.56 on offer for the Rabbitohs head to head (Pinnacle) is overs to me, despite plenty of money coming for the Titans at this point in time.


Mike’s Tip: Rabbitohs

Mike’s Best Bet: Rabbitohs Head to Head @ $1.56 (Pinnacle)



Storm v Sea Eagles

Sat 10 May, 7:30pm, AAMI Park

Storm: 1.Billy Slater 2. Sisa Waqa 3. Will Chambers 4. Mahe Fonua 5. Young Tonumaipea 6. Ben Hampton 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Bryan Norrie 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Ryan Hinchcliffe
Interchange: 14. Kenny Bromwich 15. Tohu Harris 16. Mitch Garbutt 17. George Rose
Sea Eagles:1. Brett Stewart 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Peta Hiku 4. Steve Matai 5. David Williams 6. Jack Littlejohn 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Josh Starling 9. Matt Ballin 10. Brenton Lawrence 11. Anthony Watmough 12. Justin Horo 13. Jamie Buhrer
Interchange: 14. James Hasson 15. Dunamis Lui 16. Jesse Sene-Lefao 17. Jason King


There’s no question that the Storm are suffering under the weight of a form slump and it’s their poor defence that is the source of their grief.

Coach Craig Bellamy said through the week he refuses to concede that the new rules have changed the game so much that he can attribute it to his side’s defensive lapses. He made it clear that he is very aware that the onus is on the players to step up as his side whilst not far off the top sides, are also realistically not far from the bottom teams on the ladder.

Normally a game against the Sea Eagles would be the ultimate test, and although it will be nonetheless, it also looks to be a good opportunity to strike the Manly side that looks to take the field minus some big name players.

Manly will go into the game without five eighth Kieran Foran, centre Jamie Lyon and there’s every chance halfback Daly Cherry-Evans, although Daly has at this stage boarded the plane to Melbourne.

It’s a tough game to pick with so many doubts over final line-ups so I’ll be leaving it alone. If you are going to have a bet, you could do a lot worse than Manly head to head @ $2.70


Mike’s Tip: Sea Eagles

Mike’s Best Bet: None

Mike’s Casual Bet: Sea Eagles Head to Head @ $2.70 (Sportingbet)



Knights v Panthers

Sun 11 May, 2:00pm, Hunter Stadium

Knights: 1. Darius Boyd 2. James McManus 3. Dane Gagai 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Akuila Uate 6. Jarrod Mullen 7. Tyrone Roberts 8. David Fa’alogo 9. Kurt Gidley 10. Kade Snowden 11. Beau Scott 12. Robbie Rochow 13. Adam Cuthbertson
Interchange: 14. Adam Clydsdale 15. Korbin Sims 17. Chris Houston 18. Matt Hilder
Panthers: 1. Matt Moylan 2. David Simmons 3. Dean Whare 4. Jamal Idris 5. Josh Mansour 6. Jamie Soward 7. Peter Wallace 8. Nigel Plum 9. Kevin Kingston 10. Brent Kite 11. Tyrone Peachey 12. Sika Manu 13. Adam Docker
Interchange: 14. James Segeyaro 15. Sam McKendry 16. Matt Robinson 17. Jeremy Latimore


The Knights need to get a wriggle on up the ladder so as not to make things difficult for themselves come the end of the season. This game presents them with a good opportunity against a Panthers side that are battling to find any decent form when playing on the road. I’m now of the belief the Panthers will genuinely struggle to make the top 8 with 9 away games left in their remaining 16 of the season. At this stage it’s likely that they would have to win 8 of those 16 to make the finals and every home ground win will be key, (but that’s a story for another day.)

So the point in all that is the Panthers will probably struggle to get on top of the Knights, and if they were facing any other than the Knights or Sharks there’s a good chance I’d recommend a best bet.

Expect a big effort from Akuila Uate on the Knight’s right wing today. Uate missed a couple of games and was replaced by 19 year old Jake Mamo who in my opinion instantly stamped himself as a star of the future. If Uate shares the same opinion, he would no doubt be feeling a teensy weensy bit of pressure to perform.

Knights 5/8th Jarrod Mullen has hit a rich vein of form and his confidence is through the roof.

No best bets here. As I mentioned, I think the Knights can beat the Panthers who struggle away from home, but the Knights have proven to be their own worst enemies at times and aren’t reliable enough to carry my money. Leave this game for fun bets only.


Mike’s Tip: Knights

Mike’s Best Bet: None

Mike’s Casual Bet: Knights 1-12 @ $3.10 (Palmerbet)



Dragons v Bulldogs

Sun 11 May, 3:00pm, ANZ Stadium

Dragons: 1.Josh Dugan 2. Brett Morris 3. Joel Thompson 4. Gerard Beale 5. Nathan Green 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Sam Williams 8. Tyson Frizell 9. Mitch Rein 10. Dan Hunt 11. Bronson Harrison 12. Ben Creagh 13. Trent Merrin
Interchange: 14. Jack Stockwell 15. Mike Cooper 16. Jack De Belin 17. Leeson Ah Mau 20. Will Matthews
Bulldogs: 1. Sam Perrett 2. Corey Thompson 3. Josh Morris 4. Tim Lafai 5. Mitch Brown 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Aidan Tolman 9. Michael Ennis 10. James Graham 11. Josh Jackson 12. Tony Williams 13. Greg Eastwood
Interchange: 14. Dale Finucane 16. Tim Browne 17. David Klemmer  24. Sam Kasiano 19. Moses Mbye


Four losses in their last five matches has put the Dragons suddenly in a slightly desperate position of needing a win and what better way to test your side than against the Bulldogs who currently sit in first place.

I’m sure however Dragons’ coach Steve Price would be accepting of a loss if it came out of a respectable performance that the club can build on throughout the final two-thirds of the year.

I won’t put too much onus on it, but I would love to know what kind of distraction all the Benji Marshall talk has been to the Dragons. Personally, it would annoy the crap out of me if I was a Dragons player.

The Bulldogs have had no such distractions and are seemingly in the zone on the footy field of late and as long as all the headlines are made about teams such as the Roosters, Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles, Des Hasler has his team right where he wants them: under the radar.

It’s not often wise to focus an extra amount of energy on one player, but the Bulldogs would benefit greatly by rag-dolling Josh Dugan at every opportunity they can. Shut down Dugan when he attacks and you will gain your side that extra bit of field position and eventually start to invade the Dragons’ 20 metre zone.

Bulldogs to win this one, but the $1.54 quote head to head is a bit short for my liking. The want was at worst $1.60 for this.


Mike’s Tip: Bulldogs

Mike’s Best Bet: None

Mike’s Casual Bet: Total match points ‘Over’ 39.5 @ $1.95 (Luxbet)



Eels v Sharks

Mon 12 May, 7:00pm, Pirtek Stadium

Eels: 1. Jarryd Hayne 2. Semi Radradra 3. Will Hopoate 4. Willie Tonga 5. Ken Sio 6. Corey Norman 7. Chris Sandow 8. Tim Mannah 9. Nathan Peats 10. Darcy Lussick 11. Pauli Pauli 12. Manu Ma’u 13. Joseph Paulo
Interchange: 14. David Gower 15. Peni Terepo 16. Fuifui Moimoi 17. Mitch Allgood
Sharks: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Beau Ryan 6. Luke Lewis 7. Jeff Robson 8. Andrew Fifita 9. John Morris 10. Bryce Gibbs 11. Anthony Tupou 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen
Interchange: 14. Isaac De Gois 15. Chris Heighington 16. Tinirau Arona  17. Siosaia Vave 20. Michael Lichaa


It’s back to Pirtek Stadium for the Parramatta Eels to host the last placed Cronulla Sharks. As I’ve mentioned at previous times through the year, the Eels are one of the best (if not the best) teams at growing a leg when playing at home compared to their score lines in games on the road. Facing the current 16th placed side, I would rate the Eels a $1.55 chance and the current best odds available for them in head to head betting is $1.71.

This isn’t to suggest that the Sharks are going to be pushovers. After all, their season could be in dire straits if they lose another match and the desperation levels amongst the team will be high.

It’s going to be a tough gig for the Sharks without Todd Carney after the half back has yet again succumb to a hamstring injury. His replacement is none other than returning forward Luke Lewis, who Coach Peter Sharp has thrust into the number 6 jersey. Lewis hasn’t played a game of Rugby League since the World Cup last year but he is no stranger to the number 6 jersey. In fact, Luke Lewis has played NRL matches in every single position except for prop forward.

All in all, I believe the Eels will be simply too good and that the two week break would have done some of their players the world of good.

So get moving punters and grab yourself some of that hot Eels action!


Mike’s Tip: Eels

Mike’s Best Bet: Eels Head to Head @ $1.71 (Pinnacle)



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