NRL Tips Round 9
It feels like the NRL is starting all over again. A week off and it’s easy to forget the path some of the teams were tracking before the rep round break. Some will hope that is reflected on the field as well! Form is form though. And despite what they might say, a week isn’t that long in football!
Here’s our preview and Tips for Round 9 of the NRL
BRONCOS V PANTHERS – FRI 8 MAY, 7:35PM SUNCORP STADIUM
Big ins for both sides after the representative round – none bigger than Darius Boyd at fullback for the Broncos. He’ll be rusty but the pressure he takes off the play-making responsibility handed to Anthony Milford and Ben Hunt on its own should make the Broncos a more formidable outfit. Jamie Soward and Elijah Taylor could be back for the Panthers. The Broncos should be too good, but I’m tipping a renaissance of sorts from Penrith.
ATHLETES TALK: Broncos by 6
ROOSTERS V WESTS TIGERS; FRI 8 MAY, 7:35PM, ALLIANZ STADIUM
They’ve lost four in a row but that will end for the Roosters in this. Plenty to like about this contest on a dry evening in Sydney! Aiden Guerra is a big inclusion for the Roosters. They’ve missed his work rate through the middle of the park. Plenty of Chooks will be out to impress Origin selectors both sides of the Tweed!
ATHLETES TALK: Roosters by 12
RAIDERS V TITANS – SAT 9 MAY, 3:00PM, GIO STADIUM
How could you have possibly envisaged tipping Canberra at all earlier in the season but they go into this favourite against another surprise packet who have turned their fortunes full circle. Canberra have produced two Houdini acts to win their past two while the Titans came back from New Zealand with one of the most impressive victories of the season.
ATHLETES TALK: Raiders by 4
SHARKS V WARRIORS – SAT 9 MAY, 5:30PM, REMONDIS STADIUM
Not much between these two sides. But the first appearance of Ben Barba at fullback will add plenty of intrigue to the contest. He’ll have plenty of traffic and will need to aim up better than his early season form in the six jumper. His best football has been at fullback and anything close to that is simply brilliant. Many of the Warriors side were part of last weekend’s test win. Finding another gear after that may be tough.
ATHLETES TALK: Sharks by 10
COWBOYS V BULLDOGS – SAT – 9 MAY, 7:30PM, 1300SMILES STADIUM
This is a danger fixture for the high-flying Cowboys. The Bulldogs are slowly getting their troops back with Josh Morris and David Klemmer returning. Moses Mbye slots into five-eighth for the suspended Josh Reynolds, and they should lose nothing based on form. The Cowboys will be without their most dangerous forward Jason Taumalolo. But they’re at home on a Saturday night and that usually means a lot. Won’t be easy though.
ATHLETES TALK: Cowboys by 4
SEA EAGLES V KNIGHTS – SUN 10 MAY, 2:00PM, BROOKVALE OVAL
Manly just can’t buy a break on the injury front and they head into this one without Kieran Foran after he picked up a hamstring tear in the ANZAC Test match. It’s hard to see even the Brookvale Oval factor playing its part in this. The Knights look solid across the park. The Sea Eagles by contrast appear to be just holding it together.
ATHLETES TALK: Knights by 6
EELS V STORM – SUN 10 MAY, 4:00PM, PIRTEK STADIUM
Billy Slater returns for Melbourne and suddenly they look a much different team on paper. This shapes as one of the games of the round. Big Semi Radradra is back for the Eels, but it’s the men in the middle who have to sharpen up considerably. Parramatta’s defence has been atrocious at times. Get that right and they have points in them. Probably not enough against the Storm though.
ATHLETES TALK: Storm by 8
RABBITOHS V DRAGONS – SUN MAY 11, 7:00PM, ANZ STADIUM
So much of this hinges on the will he or won’t he question around Adam Reynolds. Without their premiership halfback the Rabbitohs have been an ordinary side without direction or the usual dominance of field play we’re used to seeing from them. They’re meeting a Dragons side sitting in the top two built largely on their defence. They’ve conceded a miserly 86 points this season. They are incredible numbers. But they’ve also scored only four points more than the worst attacking side Manly. Can their defence hold on another week?
ATHLETES TALK: Dragons by 4