NRL Round 9 Previews and Betting Tips
Rabbitohs v Tigers
Thu 28 Apr, 7:50PM, ANZ Stadium
The South Sydney Rabbitohs will play the Wests Tigers this Thursday night after both teams come off disappointing losses as they look to kick-start their stuttering seasons. The Rabbitohs were humbled by the Broncos last week in an impressive display from the 2015 Grand Finalists, while the Tigers’ issues were broadcast to the world with their 54 point loss to the Raiders.
For the Rabbitohs, George Burgess and Kyle Turner return to their forward rotation for Paul Carter and the injured Hymel Hunt. The Tigers only change comes with the return of Tim Simona at the expense of Nathan Milone in the centres.
Despite the scoreline last week, the Rabbitohs certainly kept their pride with their performance against the Broncos. The Tigers’ loss last week is more evidence of major structural problems with the club, and while this week’s scoreline should not be as dramatic, expect the Rabbitohs to come away with the points.
Betting Tip: Rabbitohs -8.0 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)
Eels v Bulldogs
Fri 29 Apr, 7:50PM, ANZ Stadium
The Parramatta Eels will play the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs this Friday night after last week’s results gave a clearer picture of the NRL ladder as both clubs sit just outside the top-four at 5th and 6th respectively. While both teams have been impressive this year, they will need to do more to ensure a top-four finish.
The Eels have elected to make no changes from last week, while the Bulldogs have included Lloyd Perrett and Raymond Faitala-Mariner on an extended bench.
It will be a hard match to call between two clubs only separated by their points differential on the NRL competition ladder. Whilst both have their strengths and weaknesses, expect the Eels to back up in style after their loss to the Cowboys last week. On recent form the Eels have been in better shape, so expect the Parramatta club to get the points.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 37.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Panthers v Raiders
Sat 30 Apr, 3:00PM, Carrington Park
The Penrith Panthers will take on the Canberra Raiders this Saturday afternoon with the men in green backing up from a massive 54-point win over the Tigers last week in an impressive attacking display. Conversely, the Panthers would be disappointed by their two-point loss against the Sharks, missing a conversion in the dying minutes that would have sent the match into extra time.
The Panthers will be buoyed by reinforcements as Dean Whare replaces Waqa Blake in the centres, while James Segeyaro and Sam McKendry also return in perfect timing for the Penrith club with rookie half Te Maire Martin ruled out for the season with a shoulder injury. Segeyaro’s return will shift Peter Wallace back to halfback as the Panthers’ preferred spine combination is restored.
The Raiders have unsurprisingly elected to make no changes from their performance last week, with Frank-Paul Nuuausala named 18th man.
Teams in the NRL rarely back up from a massive win in top form, due mostly to complacency. The Raiders will face a Panthers outfit backing up from a frustrating last-gasp loss and buoyed by the return of James Segeyaro and Dean Whare, expect the Penrith club to get the points.
Betting Tip: Panthers -4.0 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)
Roosters v Knights
Sat 30 Apr, 5:30PM, Central Coast Stadium
The Sydney Roosters will take on the Newcastle Knights this Saturday night as the 2013 premiers are set to welcome back representative duo Mitchell Pearce and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves as well as Isaac Liu in a massive boost for the Sydney club’s stuttering season.
The Roosters’ reinforcements come at the expense of Brendan Elliot and Mitchell Frei, while the Knights have included Pat Mata’utia, Pauli Pauli and Will Pearsall in their lineup with Brock Lamb, Jack Stockwell and Mickey Paea joining an extended bench.
The Roosters should be hot favourites for this match, particularly with the hype of the return of Mitchell Pearce and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves. Don’t expect the ‘Chooks’ to get back into the form they displayed last year straight away, but their inclusions should see a marked improvement in their form. Against a struggling Knights outfit missing Jarrod Mullen, expect the Roosters to come away with the points.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Under 44.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Sea Eagles v Cowboys
Sat 30 Apr, 7:30PM, Brookvale Oval
The Manly Sea Eagles will host the North Queensland Cowboys at their tradition home-ground of Brookvale Oval this Saturday night after the Queensland club showed their class against the Eels last week in a dominant display.
Manly coach Trent Barrett would have been happy with Daly Cherry-Evans’ return, but he looks set to deal with another injury crisis after Brett Stewart and Tom Trbojevic went down injured last week, despite being named to play the Cowboys. Matt Parcell has been added to an extended bench in an otherwise unchanged lineup for the Sea Eagles, while the Cowboys have also included John Asiata as 18th man.
The Cowboys continue to benefit from continuity, having the luxury of naming the same starting 13 that took the field in last year’s grand final. They displayed their class against the Eels last week and don’t expect a different story from the Queensland club with Brett Stewart and Tom Trbojevic unlikely to play.
Betting Tip: Sea Eagles +8.5 @ $1.92 (Luxbet)
Warriors v Dragons
Sun 1 May, 12:00PM, Mt Smart Stadium
The New Zealand Warriors will host the St George Illawarra Dragons at home this Sunday afternoon after the Kiwi club’s injury woes were worsened last week with Tuimala Lolohea and Simon Mannering joining Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in the injury ward.
Albert Vete, Shaun Lane and Jazz Tevaga will come into the the Warriors’ lineup with James Gavet at 18th man as David Fusitua looks set to take the custodian role in the absence of Lolohea. The Dragons have included Euan Aitken in the centres in their only change from last week.
After their 42 point loss to the Storm last week, it is clear the Warriors were impacted heavily by the injury to Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, which will be worsened by the absence of Tuimala Lolohea and Simon Mannering. With a mounting injury toll and against a St George Illawarra side hungry for their third consecutive win, expect the Dragons to get the points.
Betting Tip: Dragons Head to Head @ $2.40 (Ladbrokes)
Titans v Storm
Sun 1 May, 2:00PM, Cbus Super Stadium
The Gold Coast Titans will host the Melbourne Storm on the Queensland coast this Sunday afternoon as the Victorian club silenced critics of their attacking play with a dominant 42-point win over the Warriors last week, while Titans fans were again left disappointed after a last gasp comeback was halted by a Bulldogs field-goal in extra time.
The Titans will include Lachlan Burr at 18th man in an otherwise unchanged squad, while Felise Kaufusi’s inclusion on the bench will push Ben Hampton to an extended bench for the Storm.
Still playing without Ashley Taylor, the Titans will struggle to match the Storm’s discipline and structured play. The Melbourne club has been performing impressively in recent weeks, which has seen them move to equal second on the competition ladder, and expect another dominant performance against the Titans this week.
Betting Tip: Storm Head to Head @ $1.64 (Luxbet)
Sharks v Broncos
Sun 1 May, 4:00PM, Shark Park
The Brisbane Broncos will play the Cronulla Sharks this Sunday afternoon in what should be an interesting test for the 2015 grand finalists. They will face a dangerous Sharks outfit looking for their 6th consecutive win short a few players due to injury and suspension.
Those players in question are Adam Blair and Andrew McCullough who won’t take the field due to suspension and injury respectively as Travis Waddell comes onto the bench as utility cover and Alex Glenn replaces Herman Ese’ese. Wayne Bennett has yet to name a replacement, but expect Sam Thaiday to start in the front row.
The roles that Adam Blair and Andrew McCullough take within the Broncos’ team structure shouldn’t be underestimated as the Brisbane club take on a full-strength Cronulla outfit. While the Sharks will certainly be eager to prove themselves against the competition leaders, the quality of the Broncos cover and the recent form of Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt should give the Broncos the edge.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Under 36.5 @ $1.88 (Ladbrokes)
Dragons Head to Head @ $2.40 (Ladbrokes)
Storm Head to Head @ $1.64 (Luxbet)