The following are previews with betting tips for Round 9 of the 2021 NRL season.
Compare NRL bookmaker odds
View the NRL form guide
View NRL betting promotions (not available to NSW & WA)
Rabbitohs v Storm
Thursday, May 6, 7:50pm AEST
Thursday night will bring a massive blockbuster clash between the Storm and Rabbitohs in what could be a crucial contest for the make-up of the top-four and a sneak preview of the finals series with these teams sure to go deep into the play-offs. Melbourne are coming off a dominant second-half performance over Cronulla that saw them notch an impressive 40-14 victory, while the Rabbitohs had too much attacking potency for the Raiders to contain.
Melbourne will welcome back George Jennings and Nelson Asofa-Solomona in a big boost to an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, the Rabbitohs are in the midst of a horror run of injuries with skipper Adam Reynolds, Campbell Graham, Cameron Murray and Jaxson Paulo all missing with injury. Alex Johnston will shift to fullback with Steven Marsters and Taane Milne joining the wings. Braidon Burns will also make his return from a long-term knee injury at centre, as Tevita Tatola returns from a concussion at prop.
Already missing Latrell Mitchell, coach Wayne Bennettt will have his work cut out for him to inspire his troops to victory against a dangerous Storm outfit. While Melbourne have been winning football games, veteran mentor Craig Bellamy will be unhappy with his team’s inconsistency relative to the Storm’s high standards. Expect Souths to struggle in the absence of so many stars with the Victorians to get the win.
Betting Tip: Storm -7.5 @ $1.90 (Bluebet)
Panthers v Sharks
Friday, May 7, 6:00pm AEST
Cronulla have continued to produce Jekyll and Hyde performances after surrendering a narrow half-time lead against the Storm to lose the game 40-14 last week. They face another massive test in an unbeaten Panthers squad who last held out an improved Manly outfit in style.
The Sharks will welcome back Jesse Ramien in a welcome boost to their outside back stocks. Braden Hamlin-Uele is facing a long stint on the sidelines with Teig Wilton dropping back to the bench as cover in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Penrith coach Ivan Cleary has made no alterations to his unbeaten squad.
Penrith will enter this contest as firm favourites but should be wary of a Cronulla squad who may yet find an 80-minute performance. The Sharks’ middle-rotation will miss Hamlin-Uele enormously with the Panthers sure to target their opposition through the middle on their path to victory. Panthers to get the points.
Betting Tip: Panthers -18.5 @ $1.95 (Bluebet)
Eels v Roosters
Friday, May 7, 7:55pm AEST
Friday night will bring a massive blockbuster clash between the Eels and Roosters with Parramatta enjoying a fantastic start to the season that has seen them drop only one game after a dominant last-start win over Canterbury. Their opposition in the Roosters have also been in impressive form despite a horror injury toll that keeps getting worse after claiming Brett Morris and Linsday Collins to season-ending knee injuries in a devastating blow to Trent Robinson’s troops.
The Eels have named an unchanged squad heading into this clash, while the Roosters will promote Adam Keighran to the bench to cover injured hooker Sam Verrills alongside Daniel Suluka-Fifita and Fletcher Baker. James Tedesco will also return at fullback in a welcome boost, allowing Joseph Manu to shift back to his preferred position of centre. Nat Butcher will also shift to the second-row to cover the suspended Sitili Tupouniua.
Given their injuries, the Eels will enter this match as firm favourites. While the Roosters undoubtedly have the class in key-positions to out-score their opposition, the absence of Collins, Verrills and Tupouniua in particular will weaken them through the ruck. Expect the Eels’ game-plan to focus on physically dominating this understrength Roosters squad with Brad Arthur’s men to get the points.
Betting Tip: Eels -4.5 @ $1.91 (Unibet, Bet365)
Raiders v Knights
Saturday, May 8, 3:00pm AEST
Mc Donald’s Park
Both the Knights and Raiders entered the 2021 season with high expectations, but both clubs have notched only three wins from eight games and are facing the prospect of missing the finals unless they can produce a significant turnaround in their on-field performances. Canberra were outplayed across the park in a disappointing 20-34 loss to the Rabbitohs last week, while Newcastle were dreadful in a humbling 38-4 loss over the Roosters.
Canberra will welcome back Josh Papalii and George Williams in a massive boost to their otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Newcastle will replace the injured Blake Green with rookie Phoenix Crossland with Hymel Hunt also taking his place on the wing.
Despite their recent form, Canberra are clear favourites heading into this contest but coach Ricky Stuart will be looking for a vastly improved performance from his highly-rated squad. The Knights are in the midst of a concerning form-slump, particularly odd given the improvements to their roster from last season. Coach Adam O’Brien will be desperate for his squad to recapture their best form but expect the class and experience within this Raiders squad to get them over the line.
Betting Tip: Raiders -5.5 @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Tigers v Titans
Saturday, May 8, 5:30pm AEST
Wests notched a vital morale-boosting upset win over the Dragons last week with Michael Maguire’s squad continuing to produce rocks or diamonds performances to the frustration of their fans. They will face a Titans squad in the midst of a worrying form-slump facing their fourth consecutive loss after conceding a 22-point lead over the Broncos last week to lose the game 36-28.
The Tigers will replace the suspended Tommy Talau with Moses Mbye in the centres with Jacob Liddle the new man on the bench. For the Titans, Ash Taylor has been dropped as he struggles to recover from a hip injury with Tanah Boyd set to play five-eighth. The injured Corey Thompson will be covered by Beau Fermor’s shift to centre, pushing Phillip Sami to the wing. Tino Fa’asiamaleaui will also return from suspension in a huge boost alongside Jaimin Joliffe on the bench.
Titans coach Justin Holbrook likened his team’s defence to that of an under-20s side after last week’s defeat and will be looking for a big response from his troops to avoid their fourth consecutive loss. Meanwhile, the Tigers will be looking to build consistency in their young spine and kickstart an unlikely run to the finals. This match could go either way but expect the Titans’ devastating forward rotation to prove the difference.
Betting Tip: Titans -3.5 @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Cowboys v Broncos
Saturday, May 8, 7:35pm AEST
The Broncos produced a miraculous victory over the Titans last week, overcoming a 22-point deficit for the biggest comeback win in their history and a vital morale boost for the struggling Brisbane club. They will face an improved Cowboys outfit who fell just short of their own comeback win against the Warriors last week in what shapes as a hugely important game in the season of both teams.
Jake Clifford and Javid Bowen will join the Cowboys’ squad at halfback and centre respectively to cover the injured Ben Hampton and Justin O’Neill in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Brisbane have named an unchanged team after an encouraging performance last week.
Stand-in halfback Tyson Gamble had a wonderful game last week and Brisbane will be a much improved outfit if he can maintain that form for the rest of the season. Given their opposition’s struggles this season, North Queensland will enter this contest as clear favourites but with a new halfback and centre, should be wary of a Broncos attack spearheaded by a Milford-Gamble halves pairing. These Queensland derbies are always close but expect the Cowboys to get the win.
Betting Tip: Cowboys -4.5 @ $1.90 (Playup)
Sea Eagles v Warriors
Sunday, May 9, 2:00pm AEST
The Warriors held off a fast-finishing Cowboys squad last week in a solid victory for the club’s fourth win of their season. They will face a much improved Manly outfit who were unable to overcome Penrith in a narrow but impressive loss with both these clubs eager to bank premiership points on their campaign to make the finals.
Manly are again suffering injury woes with props Josh Aloiai and Martin Taupau missing with injury. Zac Saddler and Moses Suli will join the bench as Sean Keppie and Haumole Olakau’atu shift to the starting side as cover. For the Warriors, Ben Murdoch-Masila will be missing with injury as Eliesa Katoa returns in the second-row in Nathan Brown’s only changes.
Given their much-improved form, the Sea Eagles will enter this contest as favourites against a very inexperienced Warriors outfit. This match could go either way but expect the class within Manly’s spine to prove the difference over their rookie counterparts with the Sea Eagles to emulate their round-five victory over the Kiwi club.
Betting Tip: Warriors +5.5 @ $2.00 (Unibet)
Dragons v Bulldogs
Sunday, May 9, 4:05pm AEST
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
The Bulldogs failed to back-up their encouraging win over Cronulla last week after a disappointing performance against the Eels has the Canterbury club running last on the competition ladder, with only one victory from seven games. Their opposition in St George will be scrambling to arrest a concerning form-slump with a disappointing loss to a struggling Tigers outfit spelling trouble for Anthony Griffin’s troops.
Canterbury have named the same 17 heading into this clash with Nick Meany and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak swapping between fullback and wing in Trent Barrett’s only change. For the Dragons, Zac Lomax is facing an extended stint on the sidelines in a devastating blow with Tyrell Fuimaono set to be deployed on the edge as cover as Poasa Faamausili returns on the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad.
Given the struggles of their opposition this season, the Dragons will head into this contest as firm favourites but may need to re-jig their attack to cover the loss of strike-centre Zac Lomax. Expect a scrappy affair with the Dragons to get the points.
Betting Tip: Dragons -9.5 @ $1.95 (Playup)
Eels -4.5 @ $1.91 (Unibet, Bet365)