The following are previews with betting tips for Round 9 of the 2017 NRL season.
Broncos v Panthers
Thu April 27, 7:50 pm, Suncorp Stadium
The Brisbane Broncos will take on the Penrith Panthers this Thursday night with a struggling Penrith outfit viewing the game as a must-win after posting only two wins in eight games to start the season. Their opposition in Brisbane edged the Rabbitohs in controversial circumstances last week after star five-eighth Anthony Milford appeared to knock the ball forward in the process of kicking the match-winning field goal. The referees will be under increased scrutiny this round but don’t expect Brisbane to get lucky a second time.
The Broncos will welcome back Jordan Kahu on the wing in their only change, while the Panthers have named an unchanged side.
The Panthers will go into the game desperate for a win and they face a Brisbane Broncos outfit who have looked sluggish without Ben Hunt. Panthers coach Anthony Griffin also enjoys quite a dominant record against Wayne Bennett and will hope his struggling Panthers outfit can get a win. While the Broncos have not been at their best in recent week, expect the class of their representative players to be the difference. Brisbane to get the win.
Betting Tip: Panthers +7.5 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)
Rabbitohs v Sea Eagles
Fri April 28, 6:00 pm, Allianz Stadium
The South Sydney Rabbitohs will play the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles this Friday night after Souths were cruelly denied victory last week against the Broncos in controversial circumstances. Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire was vocally unhappy with the quality of the officiating, but will look to move on as his squad takes on a Manly outfit flying high after a two-point victory against the Raiders last week.
The Sea Eagles have named an unchanged squad to take the field, while the Rabbitohs will welcome back Adam Reynolds as John Sutton shifts to second row in place of the suspended George Burgess.
The return of Adam Reynolds will be a huge boost for Souths but Manly’s win over the Raiders last week will see them installed as narrow favourites for the contest. Souths sorely missed the control Reynolds brings to their attack last week but will again rely on their intimidating forward rotation to dominate the game. If the Sea Eagles forwards can lay a platform against their larger opponents, expect Manly’s more potent back-line to do the rest. Sea Eagles to get the points.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 40.0 @ $1.90 (Palmerbet)
Cowboys v Eels
Fri April 28, 7:50 pm, 1300Smiles Stadium
The North Queensland Cowboys will host the Parramatta Eels this Friday night after both teams secured an important win last week as clubs look to stockpile premiership points heading into the middle of the season. The Cowboys inexperienced outfit were again impressive in their win against the Knights last week, while the Eels are improving with two consecutive wins heading into the match.
The Cowboys have elected to make no changes to their squad for the game, while the Eels will replace the injured Brad Takairangi with David Gower joining the interchange and Kenny Edwards shifting to the halves.
This is a contest between two teams who have enormously weakened spines. With a number of key players absent for each team, expect a scrappy contest that will ultimately be decided in the forwards. While the Eels are certainly a chance, Cowboys coach Paul Green seems to have his men firing after a difficult period to start the season. Expect the Cowboys to get the points on the back of their still-intimidating forward rotation.
Betting Tip: Cowboys -4.5 @ $1.94 (Topbetta)
Titans v Knights
Sat April 29, 3:00 pm, CBus Super Stadium
The Gold Coast Titans will host the Newcastle Knights this Saturday afternoon after the Queensland club produced a massive upset over reigning premiers the Cronulla Sharks. It was a just reward for the Titans’ faithful who – after an extremely difficult start to the season – sit second from the bottom. Their opposition in the Knights occupy last position on the ladder, though not for lack of effort. The Knights have played good football at different stages throughout the year, but the inexperience in their roster is hard to gap as the club looks to sign multiple marquee players.
Tyronne Roberts-Davis will return on the wing for the Titans as Kane Elgey and Pat Vaivai join the interchange. The Knights will bring in Jaelen Feeney at halfback with Joe Wardle also returning to the bench.
The Titans should go into the match as favourites and given the relative strength of their squad compared to recent weeks, it is easy to see why. While the Knights are definitely a chance, expect the more experienced Titans to continue their winning momentum after beating the Sharks last week.
Betting Tip: Total Match Points Over 42.5 @ $1.88 (Ladbrokes)
Bulldogs v Raiders
Sat April 29, 5:30 pm, ANZ Stadium
The Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs will take on the Canberra Raiders this Saturday night after Raiders fans were left heartbroken by an extra-time loss against Manly last week. Their opposition in the Bulldogs will be similarly disappointed after losing to a rejuvenated Tigers outfit last round but with both teams currently sit on four wins from eight games – falling well short of the lofty pre-season expectations – expect a game both clubs are desperate to win.
The Bulldogs have named an unchanged side for the clash, while the Raiders will welcome back Clay Priest on their interchange in place of Dunamis Lui in their only change.
It will be an interesting clash between two sides who have built some consistency in recent times. The contest between two of the most intimidating forward rotations in the competition will likely decide the contest, but expect the attacking potency of the Raiders to also give them an edge against the ‘Dogs. Expect the Raiders to get the points.
Betting Tip: Raiders -6.0 @ $1.90 (William Hill)
Tigers v Sharks
Sat April 29, 7:30 pm, Leichhardt Oval
The Wests Tigers will host the Cronulla Sharks this Saturday night after the reigning premiers were upset by the Titans last week in a testament to the quality of the NRL competition. The Tigers have been much improved since Ivan Cleary took over the coaching role, particularly after they beat out the Bulldogs last week in an impressive display.
The Tigers will go into the match unchanged, while the Sharks will welcome back Gerard Beale on the wing and Luke Lewis in the second row.
The Sharks will go into the match as favourites, but the Shire club will be wary of a dangerous Tigers squad after their inexperienced outfit excelled in their win over the Bulldogs last week. Boosted by the news they have signed Josh Reynolds from the ‘Dogs, the Tigers will be looking to emulate the Titans’ upset, but don’t expect the Sharks to let that happen. Coach Shane Flanagan will have his troops on high alert after last week, so expect the Cronulla team to bounce back after a poor performance.
Betting Tip: Sharks -6.0 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)
Warriors v Roosters
Sun April 30, 2:00 pm, Mt Smart Stadium
The New Zealand Warriors will host the Sydney Roosters this Sunday afternoon with the former competition leading ‘Chooks taking out a narrow win in their ANZAC day clash against the Dragons last week. Having fallen down the ladder after a wonderful start to the season, the Roosters made an emphatic statement last week with Mitchell Pearce in particular raising his hand high for representative honours. Their opposition in the Warriors will be disappointed after losing by a converted try to the Storm last week, but expect the Kiwi’s to be primed for another huge clash at their home ground.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad will make his NRL debut to replace the injured Solomone Kata, while the Roosters will welcome back Mitchell Aubusson in the back row in the only changes for both squads.
The Roosters should go into the match as favourites, but with the Warriors sure to capitalise on their home-ground advantage there is no obvious winner at this stage. Expect the Chooks’ halves to continue to push for Origin selection with Mitchell Pearce again leading his team to victory.
Betting Tip: Roosters -1.5 @ $1.93 (Bet365)
Dragons v Storm
Sun April 30, 4:00 pm, WIN Stadium
The St George Illawarra Dragons will play the Melbourne Storm this Sunday afternoon with fans of the joint-venture club left heartbroken after losing to the Roosters last week on ANZAC day. The Dragons sit second on the competition ladder, but their opposition in the Storm sit in first place, only losing their round six clash against the Sharks. This will be a huge clash between the top two teams in the competition, and an interesting test of the Dragons true mettle.
The Dragons will be without captain and five-eighth Gareth Widdop as Kurt Mann moves to the halves as cover and Taane Milne joins the interchange. For the Storm, Kenny Bromwich will return in the back row in an otherwise unchanged squad.
The Storm will go into the match as favourites, particularly in the absence of Gareth Widdop. The Dragons will hope to grind out a tough, low scoring win but their probable game-plan is the Storm’s specialty. If the Dragons forwards can dominate their opposition they may have a chance, but the class of the Storm’s spine and back-line should secure Melbourne the win.
Betting Tip: Storm -6.0 @ $1.91 (William Hill)
Rabbitohs v Manly Total Match Points Over 40.0 @ $1.90 (Palmerbet)
Sharks -6.0 @ $1.92 (Crownbet)