The following are previews with betting tips for Round 9 of the 2020 NRL season.
Cowboys v Roosters
Thursday, Jul 9, 7:50 PM AEST
The Cowboys struggled to compete with a dominant Eels outfit in their last match and the North Queensland club face no easier task this week against the reigning premiers. The Roosters will be burning after their sensational last-start loss to the Storm, in which Melbourne produced a surprise upset after kicking a field-goal only 30 seconds from full-time.
An injury to veteran Justin O’Neill will mean Connely Lemuelu returns in the centres with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow also recalled at fullback with superstar Valentine Holmes relegated to the wing. For the Roosters, injuries to Daniel Tupou and Boyd Cordner will be a massive blow as Ryan Hall and Lachlan Lam join the wing and bench respectively.
Despite their injuries and the Cowboys’ recent form, the Roosters will enter this match as firm favourites. Paul Green’s troops looked to have turned a corner after their gutsy round-seven victory over the Knights, but the Queensland club clearly have some work to do in order to match the competition’s best. Roosters to take the win.
Betting Tip: Roosters -12.5 @ $1.91 (Beteasy)
Titans v Warriors
Friday, Jul 10, 6:00 PM AEST
The Warriors produced a fantastic performance against Brisbane last week in a morale-boosting result which has eased pressure on the struggling New Zealand club. They will face a Titans outfit who were humbled in a 40-10 loss to Cronulla in their last game, particularly disappointing after a dominant win over the Broncos in round eight.
Tyrone Roberts has dropped out of the Titans’ squad as Corey Thompson shifts to fullback with Treymain Spry to make his NRL debut on the wing. Sam Stone will also join the interchange to cover the absence of the injured Mitch Rein. For the Warriors, captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck will return in a huge boost, relegating Peta Hiku to centre. Jazz Tevanga will join the bench as Chanel Harris-Tavita shifts to the starting side to cover the injured Kodi Nikorima.
On recent form, the Warriors will enter this match as firm favourites. Given their inspirational win last week short of key players, the return of Tuivasa-Sheck and Tevanga should add some potency to the Warriors’ attack through the middle of the field. The Gold Coast are struggling for consistency after they fell-away in the second-half against Cronulla. Justin Holbrook will be looking for an 80-minute performance from his troops but expect the Warriors to get the win.
Betting Tip: Warriors -1.5 @ $1.91 (Beteasy)
Rabbitohs v Tigers
Friday, Jul 10, 7:55 PM AEST
Wests came agonizingly close to toppling the second-placed Panthers last week in a scintillating contest that is a testament to the improvement the joint-venture club have found under coach Michael Maguire. They will face a Rabbitohs outfit who outclassed the Bulldogs in their last game in an encouraging bounce-back from their disappointing round-seven loss to Penrith.
Souths have lost promising centre Braidon Burns to a season-ending knee injury in a devastating blow. James Roberts will shift to the centres as cover in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Tigers, the suspension of Joey Leilua will mean Michael Chee-Kam shifts to the centres as Chris Lawrence joins the bench in Michael Maguire’s only changes.
While the Rabbitohs will enter this match as favourites, Wayne Bennett’s troops should be wary of a Tigers squad who have found another level this year. Expect Wests’ uncompromising defensive structures to target Souths through the middle of the field. Both teams possess creative and dynamic players in the hooking position and the team who can win the ruck will find points on the score-board come easy. Could go either way but expect the Tigers to get the win.
Sharks v Panthers
Saturday, Jul 11, 3:00 PM AEST
The Sharks are in the hunt for their fourth consecutive win after demolishing the Titans last week in a devastating second-half blitz. The Shire club will need to utilize all of their grit and experience against a red-hot Panthers outfit who edged the Tigers in their last match in a superb performance from the second-placed Penrith club.
An injury to Matt Moylan will mean Josh Dugan shifts to fullback for Cronulla as Ronaldo Mulitalo makes his return from injury on the wing in an otherwise unchanged squad. For the Panthers, Dean Whare will return at centre to cover the injured Brian To’o with Brent Naden shifting to the wing in Ivan Cleary’s only alterations.
This match shapes as a fantastic litmus test for the Sharks against quality opposition, particularly with Matt Moylan absent. Both teams play with plenty of energy in the ruck so expect a tough contest through the middle – particularly at the back-end of each half. While Cronulla certainly have the cattle to win this game, expect their attack to struggle against Penrith’s defense in the absence of playmaking fullback Matt Moylan. Penrith to get the win.
Betting Tip: Panthers -4.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Broncos v Bulldogs
Saturday, Jul 11, 5:30 PM AEST
Brisbane slumped to their sixth consecutive loss against the Warriors last week as pressure mounts on coach Anthony Seibold to turn his squad’s results around. They will face a similarly struggling Bulldogs outfit who were out-classed by the Rabbitohs despite displaying their trade-mark effort and grit.
Brisbane have elected to move Corey Oates into the second-row with Tevita Pangai Jr shifting to the front-row. Kotoni Staggs could be a late inclusion in what would be a massive boost for Brisbane in an otherwise unchanged line-up. Meanwhile, Canterbury will be without Adam Elliot for the remainder of the season in a huge blow. English recruit Luke Thompson will make his NRL debut at lock in Dean Pay’s only changes.
Despite their recent form, Brisbane will enter this match as favourites. The Broncos are capable of putting together periods of promising football but seem to fall away towards the end of the game. Expect a tough contest against the tenacious Bulldogs. While this match could go either way, expect Brisbane to get the win, particularly with the potential return of Kotoni Staggs.
Betting Tip: Broncos -4.0 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Raiders v Storm
Saturday, Jul 11, 7:35 PM AEST
Melbourne participated in arguably the best game of the season in their scintillating last-gasp victory against the reigning premiers last week. After the inspirational and courageous performance against the Roosters, the club will now face 2019 grand-finalists in the Canberra Raiders with Ricky Stuart’s troops producing a poor second-half performance against St George in their last match despite coming away with the win.
Injuries to Sia Soliola and Emre Guler spell trouble for the Raiders’ middle-rotation as Kai O’Donnell makes his NRL debut off the bench alongside the returning Jordan Rapana. For the Storm, Marion Seve will replace the injured Suliasi Vunivalu on the wing. Cameron Munster could also make an early return from injury in what would be a huge boost for Melbourne.
A number of injuries have placed enormous pressure on the depth of the Raiders’ middle rotation. Expect Melbourne to exploit their opposition’s weakness in that regard with Craig Bellamy’s troops quickly re-establishing themselves as among the competition’s best when it comes to controlling the ruck. Storm to get the win.
Betting Tip: Storm H2H @ $1.85 (Sportsbet)
Knights v Eels
Sunday, Jul 12, 4:05 PM AEST
The Knights’ gritty win over Manly last week elevated the Newcastle club into the top four in an encouraging turnaround from a disappointing loss to North Queensland in round seven. They will face a massive test against an Eels outfit who put the Cowboys to the torch last week in a dominant 42-4 victory.
Tex Hoy will replace the injured Edrick Lee on the wing for Newcastle as Star Toa and Brodie Jones join the interchange. For the Eels, Nathan Brown will return at lock in a huge boost for the first-placed club with Stefano Utoikamanu also set to make his NRL debut off the bench.
This match shapes as a fantastic test for the resurgent Knights, particularly given the Newcastle outfit’s mixed results against the competition’s elite teams. Expect a brutal contest between two very physical teams as the Eels look to rookie halfback Jai Field to emulate his fantastic performance last week in the absence of Mitchell Moses. Eels to get the win.
Betting Tip: Eels -3.5 @ $1.91 (Beteasy)
Dragons v Sea Eagles
Sunday, Jul 12, 6:30 PM AEST
Manly fans were left heart-broken after another controversial referee call sunk their chances of victory against the Knights last week in a gritty performance from the Sea Eagles outfit. They will face a Dragons team who were left frustrated against the Raiders last week after a failed second-half comeback has the club desperate to avoid their third consecutive loss.
The suspended Addin Fonua-Blake will be replaced by Taniela Paseka in the Sea Eagles’ starting squad with Morgan Boyle joining the bench in Des Hasler’s only changes. For St George, Tariq Sims will return in the second-row as Ben Hunt shifts to the hooking role with Cameron McInnes at lock. Jordan Pereira will also replace Jason Saab on the wing.
Despite their torrid injury toll and their opposition’s recent form, Manly will enter this contest as favourites. St George still look to be searching for winning squad combinations with the huge call to shift captain Cameron McInnes to lock and bring Ben Hunt into the starting hooker role. While the Dragons will certainly fancy themselves against a depleted Manly squad, expect the cohesion of the Sea Eagles to prove the difference.
Betting Tip: Sea Eagles H2H @ $2.04 (Unibet)
Warriors -1.5 @ $1.91 (Beteasy)
Broncos -4.0 @ $1.91 (Bet365)