NRL Round 9 Previews and Tips
Broncos v Panthers
Fri 8 May, 7:35pm, Suncorp Stadium
The 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership will return for round nine this weekend after an entertaining weekend of representative football with the Brisbane Broncos taking on the Penrith Panthers on Friday night. This is the first time the two clubs meet in 2015, and from their performance last season most fans would have expected their positions to be reversed with the Broncos sitting at 1st and the Panthers at 8th on the competition ladder.
Despite not being named on Tuesday, Darius Boyd is set to be a massive inclusion for the Broncos only five months after rupturing his Achilles tendon. Boyd will be joined by previously injured Alex Glenn and Jordan Kahu to significantly strengthen the Broncos squad.
Conversely, the Panthers will still be missing a number of stars as injured star five-eighth Jaime Soward looks unlikely to take the field along with Peter Wallace, James Segeyaro, Dean Whare, Jamal Idris, Josh Mansour and Elijah Taylor.
Whilst the Panthers have put together a good season so far, their mounting injury toll with over half a dozen players missing is concerning, whereas the Broncos will field one of their strongest side’s for 2015. Expect Brisbane to continue the form that has put them at the top of the premiership ladder with a win.
Ben’s Tips: Broncos – 8.5 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)
Roosters v Tigers
Fri 8 May, 7:35pm, Allianz Stadium
The Sydney Roosters will play the Wests Tigers on Friday night as the 2013 Premiers look to snap a four game losing streak, while the Tigers will be looking to put their inconsistency behind them and continue on from their big win over the Bulldogs in round eight.
The Roosters will be buoyed by the return of Aiden Guerra and Mitch Aubusson as will the Tigers in veteran prop Keith Galloway. Many of the Roosters players will be hoping to impress selectors as former NSW halves duo James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce battle for an Origin berth, whilst Boyd Cordner and Aiden Guerra look to recover from their ANZAC test snub and fractured jaw respectively.
With a total of six players taking part in the ANZAC test and a number of others over the different representative games, whichever team can find enthusiasm after a massive rep weekend will come out on top. The Roosters appear to be the favourites with a number of players playing for representative selection, so expect the Chooks to come out on top.
Ben’s Tips: Total match points over 40.5 @ $1.92 (Sportsbet)
Cowboys v Bulldogs
Sat 9 May, 7:30pm, 1300Smiles Stadium
The North Queensland Cowboys will round off Saturday’s NRL football against the Canterbury Bulldogs in Townsville with the Queensland club facing a mounting injury toll. The Cowboys will be without Tautau Moga, Jason Taumalolo and Scott Bolton as Matthew Wright, John Asiata and Kelepi Tanginoa move into the squad to cover the injured trio.
Conversely, Josh Reynolds is the only out for the Bulldogs after being suspended for tripping in the City-Country match with Moses Mbye shifting to the halves, while Josh Morris and David Klemmer will return to boost the Bulldogs.
The Cowboys have named two hookers on their bench in Ray Thompson and Rory Kostjasyn (Kostjasyn can cover lock) in an interesting move to combat a massive Bulldogs pack, although, Paul Greene may have few options left after injuries to middle forwards Jason Taumalolo and Scott Bolton. The Bulldogs will be looking to beat the Cowboys through the middle, and expect them to do just that with a massive forward rotation.
Ben’s Tips: Bulldogs +8.0 @ $1.92 (Palmerbet)
Raiders v Titans
Sat 9 May, 3:00pm, GIO Stadium
The Canberra Raiders will take on the Gold Coast Titans in the Australian capital this Saturday afternoon as both clubs look to have overcome poor starts to the season to sit equal 5th on the premiership ladder separated by only 12 points on their for and against.
The Raiders have named an unchanged squad to the one that beat the reigning premiers in round eight, while the Titans will benefit from a number of players to cover for suspension and injury. The suspension of Greg Bird and an injury to Beau Falloon will see Dave Taylor and Daniel Mortimer make their NRL returns, while Mark Ioane replaces Matt Robinson on the bench.
With both clubs having overcome poor starts to the season to sit equal 5th on the competition ladder, their momentum makes this game’s result difficult to tip. While the Raiders have displayed a lot of heart recently, their last two wins have been miraculous comebacks, so expect the Titans to bring the Raiders back down to earth.
Ben’s Tips: Total match points under 40.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Sharks v Warriors
Sat 9 May, 5:30pm, Remondis Stadium
The Cronulla Sharks will take on the New Zealand Warriors this Saturday night with the former’s star recruit Ben Barba making his long-awaited return to his preferred position at fullback. Signed as a five-eighth, the emergence of star rookie Jack Bird in the halves has forced Sharks coach Shane Flanagan’s hand as he will now play a trio of fullbacks in Barba, Valentine Holmes and Michael Gordon as his back three, while Andrew Fifita returns to cover for the suspended Chris Heighington.
The Warriors will be missing Sam Tomkins at the back for yet another week as the English fullback struggles to return from injury, whilst Konrad Hurrell replaces David Fusitu’a at centre.
The Warriors and Sharks sit 13th and 14th on the NRL ladder separated by only one point in for and against, though on recent form, the Sharks look more dangerous. Despite the absence of the NSW captain Paul Gallen, the return of Barba to fullback and Andrew Fifita should spell trouble for a struggling Warriors outfit.
Ben’s Tips: No tip
Eels v Storm
Sun 10 May, 4:00pm, Pirtek Stadium
The Melbourne Storm will play the Parramatta Eels this Sunday as the Victoria club welcome back Australian and Maroons fullback Billy Slater as well as forwards Tom Learoyd-Lahrs and Dayne Weston. The Eels will welcome back a new wing combination in the powerful Semi Radradra along with Ryan Morgan as Isaac De Gois comes onto the bench for Pauli Pauli.
The Eels have yet to string two consecutive wins together in 2015 as they continue to struggle for consistency, while the 3rd placed Storm will be scratching their heads after their only two losses for the 2015 season have come against the last placed Sea Eagles.
The Eels loss to the Broncos last round spells trouble for the Parramatta club as they failed to close out the game and play the full 80 minutes, while the Storm look to have returned to their clinical best and the return of Billy Slater will only make them more dangerous as a number of their young forwards will draw confidence from strong performances for the Kiwis last week. Expect the Storm to come away with the win.
Ben’s Tips: Storm – 2.5 @ $1.95 (Luxbet)
Sea Eagles v Knights
Sun 10 May, 2:00pm, Brookvale Oval
Sea Eagles: TBA
The Manly Sea Eagles will face the Newcastle Knights on Sunday afternoon at Brookvale Oval after their confidence-building win over the Storm last round, while the Knights will be looking to break a four game losing streak after their promising start to the season.
Jaime Lyon returns for Manly in a straight swap for the suspended Steve Matai, while Jamie Buhrer’s ACL injury brings Dunamis Lui into the starting side, with Blake Leary coming onto the bench. Despite being named, it is reported that Kieran Foran is out with a hamstring injury. The Knights will name a largely unchanged side, with Beau Scott returning to the starting back row to push Chis Houston onto the bench.
Manly’s win against the Storm last week looked to be a turning point for them in their season, but despite a number of returning stars, they are still struggling to field anything near their best squad. Conversely, the Knights are travelling with a healthy roster, but are struggling for form. Despite their injury toll, expect the class of Manly’s rejuvenated back five to get them home after their gritty win against the Storm in round 8.
Ben’s Tips: No tip
Rabbitohs v Dragons
Mon 11 May, 7:00pm, ANZ Stadium
The reigning premiers the South Sydney Rabbitohs will take on the St George Dragons as the former will be envious of the Dragons equal 1st position on the NRL premiership ladder.
The injury crises for the Rabbitohs don’t look to be going away after an injury to star back-rower Glenn Stewart, though coach Michael Maguire will welcome back John Sutton from a broken jaw to slot straight back into the halves.The Dragons will welcome back Tyson Frizell and Eto Nabuli as the injury to Josh Dugan pushes Peter Mata’utia to fullback.
A game that would have seen the Rabbitohs installed as heavy favourites in the pre-season will have the opposite as the 2nd placed Dragons look to be the more likely to win. Expect the Dragon’s defence to be at its bruising best against the Rabbitohs as the reigning premiers struggle for attacking potency in the absence of Adam Reynolds.
Ben’s Tips: Souths -4.5 @ $1.91 (Sportsbet)