The following are previews with betting tips for Round 9 of the 2023 NRL season. Best bets for the round are also provided.
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Sharks v Cowboys
Thursday, April 27, 7:50pm AEST
The Cowboys produced a gritty two-point win over a courageous Newcastle outfit last week in a much-needed victory for the club as they look to get their season back on track after a woeful start. They face a massive test against an in-form Cronulla outfit who were dominant over Canterbury in a solid last-start victory, pushing them to equal-third on the competition ladder.
Given their solid performances last round, both clubs have elected to name an unchanged squad heading into this clash, a very positive sign given the lack of consistency with their respective rosters through injury and suspension.
With an almost full-strength squad except for Dale Finucane and Toby Rudolph, Cronulla look to be warming into the form that saw them reach the top-four last season. They should be wary of a fast improving Cowboys outfit who are showing positive signs of improvement but have a long way to go to play their best football. Cronulla to get the win.
Betting Tip: Cowboys +10.5 @ $1.91 (bet365)
Eels v Knights
Friday, April 28, 6pm AEST
Parramatta’s inconsistent form continued after suffering a disappointing defeat at the hands of a red-hot Broncos squad last week. Their opposition in Newcastle should be fired-up after a heart-breaking two-point loss to the Cowboys with the Novacastrians show-casing the huge improvement in their defensive structures in positive signs for the club and coach Adam O’Brien.
The Eels will welcome Haze Dunster onto the wing for the injured Bailey Simonsson, pushing Sean Russell to centre. Star prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard suffered a nasty groin injury and will be replaced by Wiremu Greig in the starting 13, with Makahesi Makatoa coming onto the bench. Meanwhile, Newcastle have named an unchanged 17, with Kalyn Ponga shifting to the starting side after his successful return from concussion off the bench last week.
The Knights have shown they can produce gritty defensive performances but still have a long way to go before they can compete with the competition’s elite clubs. Coach Adam O’Brien will be looking for high completions and a low error count if his squad are a chance at victory over the Eels. Expect a big response from Parramatta after the disappointment of last week. Eels to get the points.
Betting Tip: Eels -7.5 @ $1.90 (Colossalbet)
Broncos v Rabbitohs
Friday, April 28, 8pm AEST
Brisbane were impressive in a dominant win over the Eels last week but the competition leaders face the biggest test of their season against a red hot Rabbitohs outfit backing up from a scintillating comeback victory over Penrith. Souths are playing wonderful football despite a massive injury toll and will be a scary prospect if they are full-strength coming into the finals.
The Broncos’ victory last week came at a high-cost, with Corey Oates suffering a knee injury and stars Payne Haas and Ezra Mam suspended for hip-drop tackles. Jesse Arthars, Keenan Palasia and Jock Madden will join the squad on the wing, prop and five-eighth respectively as cover. For the Bunnies, Tevita Tatola will return from injury at prop in a welcome boost to their middle-forward rotation.
Betting Tip: Souths +4 @ $1.90 (Playup)
Raiders v Dolphins
Saturday, April 29, 3pm AEST
The Dolphins’ uncanny ability to topple records was on display again last week after the new NRL club produced the biggest comeback victory in the NRL since 1998, scoring 28 unanswered points in the second-half for a two-point win over the hapless Titans. They will face a tougher test this week against the Raiders, who are reeling from the news star five-eighth Jack Wighton has signed a long term deal with rivals South Sydney. The Canberra club enjoyed a bye last week and last recorded a solid victory over the Dragons in round seven.
For the Dolphins, Kenny Bromwich will return at prop in a big boost with the underrated Connelly Lemuelu retaining his place in the second-row in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, the Raiders have similarly named only one change with Jordan Rapana set to replace the injured Nick Cotric on the wing.
Betting Tip: Dolphins H2H @ $2.55 (Picklebet)
Sea Eagles v Titans
Saturday, April 29, 5:30pm AEST
The Titans habit of blowing significant leads was on display again last week after the Gold Coast club conceded 28 unanswered points to the Dolphins for the worst comeback loss since 1998. They will face a big test against a Manly outfit on the hunt for their third consecutive victory after a solid win over the Tigers last week.
Kruise Leeming and Thomas Mikaele are the casualties from the Titans’ loss, with Klese Haas and Joe Vuna coming onto the bench in an otherwise unchanged squad. For Manly, Kelma Tuilagi will return from concussion in the second-row with Reuben Garrick shifting to centre for the injured Brad Parker. Christian Tuipulotu will join the wing and all eyes will be on Tom Trbojevic as he battles a groin injury with Kaeo Weekes his likely replacement if the superstar fullback is ruled out.
Betting Tip: Sea Eagles -6.5 @ $1.95 (Playup)
Panthers v Tigers
Saturday, April 29, 7:35pm AEST
Wests have rallied in recent weeks after a woeful start to their season, they have improved in recent weeks – recording a more respectable six-point loss to Manly in their last game. They will face a huge test of their courage against the reigning premiers, particularly after conceding a heart-breaking comeback loss to the Rabbitohs, conceding two tries in the last five minutes of play for a two-point loss.
The Tigers will be missing Asu Kepaoa and Charlie Staines to injury with Brent Naden returning from injury at centre and David Nofoaluma recalled on the wing in an otherwise unchanged squad. Meanwhile, Penrith have named only one change with Tyrone Peachey replacing the injured Izack Tago at centre.
Betting Tip: Panthers -16.5 @ $1.95 (bet365)
Warriors v Roosters
Sunday, April 30, 2pm AEST
The Warriors were courageous in their last-start loss to Melbourne last week in the face of huge adversity after losing some key players throughout the game. Their job gets no easier this week coming up against a Roosters outfit who produced a scrappy field-goal victory over St George in a tough ANZAC day clash.
The Kiwis will be without Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Jazz Tevaga and captain Tohu Harris in a devastating blow for the club. Dylan Walker is also facing a lengthy suspension with Ronald Volkman his likely replacement if he is unsuccessful in down-grading his charge. Taine Tuaupiki will come in at fullback with Wayde Egan and Viliami Vailea also joining the squad at hooker and off the bench respectively. For the Roosters, Nat Butcher will return from suspension in the second-row while a hamstring injury to Daniel Tupou will see Corey Allan recalled on the wing.
Betting Tip: Warriors +7.5 @ $1.91 (bet365)
Dragons v Bulldogs
Sunday, April 30, 0.170138888888889 AEST
St George were left heart-broken last week after the joint-venture club fell agonisingly close to a miraculous comeback over the Roosters, ultimately losing by just a field-goal in a devastating result. Their opposition in Canterbury were outclassed by Cronulla last week with the club languishing at second-last on the competition ladder as they deal with a torrid injury toll.
Canterbury have pulled the trigger on dropping Kyle Flanagan, with Matt Burton shifting to halfback and veteran Josh Reynolds coming into the squad at five-eighth. Kurtis Morrin and Sam Hughes will join the bench with Fa’amanu Brown also a likely late inclusion as he makes his way back from a nasty elbow injury. Meanwhile, St George have named only one change with the injured Tautau Moga replaced with Max Feagai on the wing.
While St George have been under huge pressure this season, they have still produced plenty of good football. Given the joint-venture club’s more established combinations, Canterbury should struggle to match their opposition across 80 minutes. Dragons to get the win.
Betting Tip: Dragons -2.5 @ $1.90 (Playup)
Souths +4 @ $1.90 (Playup)