NRL Preview Round 9: everything you need to know for the weekend

Round 9 of the NRL season sees a potential grand final preview as the high-flying Dragons host the red-hot Storm at Jubilee Oval.

Elsewhere there are a number of teams trying to bounce back from losses and build some consistency into their unpredictable seasons.

Good luck with your tips.

Thursday, May 3

Brisbane Broncos vs Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, Suncorp Stadium, 7:50pm (AEST)

Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd (c), 2 Corey Oates, 3 James Roberts, 4 Tom Opacic, 5 Jamayne Isaako, 6 Anthony Milford, 7 Jack Bird, 8 Matthew Lodge, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Sam Thaiday, 11 Alex Glenn, 12 Jaydn Su’A, 13 Tevita Pangai jnr Reserves:14 Payne Haas, 15 Joe Ofahengaue, 16 Kodi Nikorima, 17 Korbin Sims 18 Jonus Pearson, 19 Todd Murphy, 20 Sam Tagataese, 21 Patrick Mogo

Bulldogs: 1 Moses Mbye, 2 Brett Morris, 3 Josh Morris, 4 Will Hopoate, 5 Marcelo Montoya, 6 Jeremy Marshall-King, 7 Kieran Foran, 8 Aaron Woods, 9 Michael Lichaa, 10 David Klemmer, 11 Josh Jackson (c), 12 Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 13 Adam Elliott Reserves: 14 Clay Priest, 15 Danny Fualalo, 16 Asipeli Fine, 17 Kerrod Holland 18 John Olive, 19 Rhyse Martin, 20 Renouf Toomaga, 21 Matthew Frawley

Verdict: The Broncos won a tough encounter last week against the Rabbitohs and seem to be ironing out some of their issues. The Bulldogs blew an early lead against the Panthers, but at least they were scoring points — just not enough. The Bulldogs always seem to lift for these big clashes in front of hostile crowds, but I can’t tip them.

Tip: Broncos

TAB odds: Brisbane $1.50, -6.5 $2 Canterbury $2.65, +6.5 $1.80

Friday, May 4

Newcastle Knights vs. South Sydney Rabbitohs, McDonald Jones Stadium, 6:00pm (AEST)

Knights: 1 Kalyn Ponga, 2 Ken Sio, 3 Sione Mata’utia, 4 Nathan Ross, 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6 Connor Watson, 7 Jack Cogger, 8 Herman Ese’ese, 9 Slade Griffin, 10 Daniel Saifiti, 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12 Aidan Guerra (c), 13 Mitchell Barnett Reserves: 14 Jamie Buhrer (c), 15 Chris Heighington, 16 Luke Yates, 17 Jacob Saifiti 18 Cory Dennis, 19 Jacob Lillyman, 20 Danny Levi, 21 Josh King

Rabbitohs: 1 Alex Johnston, 2 Richie Kennar, 3 Greg Inglis (c), 4 Dane Gagai, 5 Robert Jennings, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Adam Reynolds, 8 Thomas Burgess, 9 Damien Cook, 10 George Burgess, 11 John Sutton, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Cameron Murray Reserves: 14 Adam Doueihi, 15 Mark Nicholls, 16 Jason Clark, 17 Tevita Tatola 18 Robbie Farah, 19 Hymel Hunt, 20 Braidon Burns, 21 Kyle Turner

Verdict: The Knights managed to beat the Sea Eagles for the second time this season last week, while the Rabbitohs went down to the Broncos. The Rabbitohs are a team that can lose confidence pretty quickly and struggle after a loss, while the Knights proved last week they can win without Mitchell Pearce and they always lift in front of their home crowd.

Tip: Knights

TAB oddsNewcastle $2.45, +4.5 $1.90 Souths $1.57, -4.5 $1.90

Penrith Panthers vs. North Queensland Cowboys, Carrington Park, Bathurst, 7:55pm (AEST)

Panthers: 1 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 2 Christian Crichton, 3 Isaah Yeo, 4 Dean Whare, 5 Tyrone Phillips, 6 Tyrone Peachey, 7 James Maloney, 8 Trent Merrin, 9 Peter Wallace, 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 11 Viliame Kikau, 12 Corey Harawira-Naera, 13 James Fisher-Harris Reserves: 14 Sione Katoa, 15 Jack Hetherington, 16 Moses Leota, 17 James Tamou 18 Wayde Egan, 19 Nick Lui-Toso, 20 Tom Eisenhuth, 21 Kaide Ellis

Cowboys: 1 Lachlan Coote, 2 Kyle Feldt, 3 Justin O’Neill, 4 Ben Hampton, 5 Antonio Winterstein, 6 Michael Morgan, 7 Johnathan Thurston (c), 8 Matthew Scott (c), 9 Jake Granville, 10 Scott Bolton, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Coen Hess, 13 Jason Taumalolo Reserves: 14 Te Maire Martin, 15 Shaun Fensom, 16 Corey Jensen, 17 Ethan Lowe 18 Francis Molo, 19 Jake Clifford, 20 Javid Bowen, 21 Sam Hoare

Verdict: The disappointing Cowboys lost to the Raiders at home last week and must be itching to turn their horror season around. The Panthers were way too good for the Bulldogs and they take this home game to Bathurst where they will have the support of a full and enthusiastic crowd. Unless the Cowboys find a miracle cure for whatever it is that ails them, the Panthers will win this one.

Tip: Panthers

TAB odds: Penrith $1.80, -1.5 $1.90 North Queensland $2.05, +1.5

Saturday, May 5

Canberra Raiders vs. Gold Coast Titans, GIO Stadium, 3:00pm (AEST)

Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Aidan Sezer, 8 Iosia Soliola, 9 Siliva Havili, 10 Junior Paulo, 11 Joseph Tapine, 12 Elliott Whitehead, 13 Josh Papalii Reserves:14 Ata Hingano, 15 Shannon Boyd, 16 Luke Bateman, 17 Dunamis Lui 18 Liam Knight, 19 Michael Oldfield, 20 Brad Abbey, 21 Jack Murchie

Titans: Michael Gordon, 2 Anthony Don, 3 Brendan Elliot, 4 Konrad Hurrell, 5 Phillip Sami, 6 Bryce Cartwright, 7 Ashley Taylor, 8 Jarrod Wallace, 9 Mitch Rein, 10 Ryan James (c), 11 Kevin Proctor, 12 Will Matthews, 13 Jai Arrow Reserves: 14 Max King, 15 Jack Stockwell, 16 Keegan Hipgrave, 17 Ryan Simpkins 18 Leilani Latu, 19 Moeaki Fotuaika, 20 Brenko Lee, 21 Kane Elgey

Verdict: The Raiders were shock winners against the Cowboys last week, but everyone is beating the Cowboys these days. The Titans continued their up and down season, losing a thriller to the Sharks. The Raiders return home to where the temperatures are starting to drop and will be fired up to collect the points in this one.

Tip: Raiders

TAB odds: Canberra $1.45, -6.5 $1.85 Gold Coast $1.85, +6.5 $1.95

New Zealand Warriors vs Wests Tigers, Mt Smart Stadium 5:30pm (AEST)

Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2 David Fusitu’a, 3 Peta Hiku, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Blake Green, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 Bunty Afoa, 9 Issac Luke, 10 Agnatius Paasi, 11 Simon Mannering, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Adam Blair Reserves: 14 Karl Lawton, 15 Sam Lisone, 16 Isaiah Papalii, 17 James Gavet 18 Anthony Gelling, 20 Mason Lino, 21 Albert Vete, 22 Sam Cook

Tigers: 1 Corey Thompson, 2 David Nofoaluma, 3 Esan Marsters, 4 Kevin Naiqama, 5 Mahe Fonua, 6 Benji Marshall (c), 7 Luke Brooks, 8 Matthew Eisenhuth, 9 Pita Godinet, 10 Ben Matulino, 11 Chris Lawrence, 12 Robbie Rochow, 13 Elijah Taylor Reserves: 14 Alex Twal, 15 Josh Aloiai, 16 Michael Chee-Kam, 17 Sauaso Sue 18 Tim Grant, 19 Matt McIlwrick, 20 Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, 21 Tyson Gamble

Verdict: The Warriors were absolutely thumped by the Storm on Anzac Day, while the Tigers lost a close one to the Eels. Early season form would suggest that this game will be a thriller, but the Tigers have slipped a bit with back-to-back losses and I think the Warriors will bounce back at home.

Tip: Warriors

TAB odds: New Zealand $1.60, -5.5 $2 Wests Tigers $2.40, +5.5 $1.80

Cronulla Sutherland Sharks vs. Parramatta Eels, Southern Cross Group Stadium, 7:35pm (AEST)

Sharks: 1 Valentine Holmes, 2 Sosaia Feki, 3 Jesse Ramien, 4 Ricky Leutele, 5 Edrick Lee, 6 Matt Moylan, 7 Chad Townsend, 8 Andrew Fifita, 9 Jayden Brailey, 10 Matt Prior, 11 Kurt Capewell, 12 Wade Graham (c), 13 Joseph Paulo Reserves: 14 Jayson Bukuya, 15 James Segeyaro, 16 Avagalu Seumanufagai, 17 Scott Sorensen 18 Kurt Dillion, 19 Jack Williams, 20 Trent Hodkinson, 21 Braden Uele

Eels: 1 Clint Gutherson (c), 2 Bevan French, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Brad Takairangi, 5 George Jennings, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Daniel Alvaro, 9 Kaysa Pritchard, 10 Suaia Matagi, 11 Manu Ma’u, 12 Tepai Moeroa, 13 Peni Terepo Reserves: 14 Will Smith, 15 Kenny Edwards, 16 David Gower, 17 Tim Mannah (c) 18 Cameron King, 19 Beau Scott, 20 Josh Hoffman, 21 Marata Niukore

Verdict: Just when the Sharks looked to have sorted out their issues with the fullback position, Josh Dugan picked up and injury that will sideline him for several weeks. The Eels have put a horror start behind them to win back-to-back games and I can see them continuing that momentum in this one.

Tip: Eels

TAB odds: Cronulla $1.67, -2.5 $1.85 Parramatta $2.25, +2.5 $1.95

Sunday, May 6

St George Illawarra Dragons vs. Melbourne Storm, Jubilee Oval, 2:00pm (AEST)

Dragons: 1 Matthew Dufty, 2 Nene Macdonald, 3 Euan Aitken, 4 Tim Lafai, 5 Jason Nightingale, 6 Gareth Widdop (c), 7 Ben Hunt, 8 James Graham, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 Paul Vaughan, 11 Tyson Frizell, 12 Tariq Sims, 13 Jack De Belin Reserves: 14 Jeremy Latimore, 15 Kurt Mann, 16 Leeson Ah Mau, 17 Reece Robson 18 Jacob Host, 19 Zachary Lomax, 20 Mitchell Allgood, 21 Hame Sele

Storm: Billy Slater, 2 Suliasi Vunivalu, 3 Will Chambers, 4 Curtis Scott, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Ryley Jacks, 8 Christian Welch, 9 Cameron Smith (c), 10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11 Felise Kaufusi, 12 Ryan Hoffman, 13 Dale Finucane Reserves: 14 Brandon Smith, 15 Kenny Bromwich, 16 Joe Stimson, 17 Sam Kasiano 18 Young Tonumaipea, 19 Patrick Kaufusi, 20 Tui Kamikamica, 21 Brodie Croft

Verdict: Jubilee Oval will be packed to overflowing for this rivalry which dates back to the 1999 grand fiinal. The Dragons continued to impress last week against the Roosters while the Storm have really found some form in recent weeks. The Dragons will be out to prove they are worthy contenders for this year’s title by beating the reigning premiers.

Tip: Dragons

TAB odds: St George Illawarra $1.85, -1.5 $1.95 Melbourne $2, +1.5 $1.85

Sydney Roosters vs. Manly Sea Eagles, Allianz Stadium, 4:10pm (AEST)

Roosters: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Joseph Manu, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Mitchell Aubusson, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Zane Tetevano, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Dylan Napa, 11 Boyd Cordner (c), 12 Ryan Matterson, 13 Isaac Liu Reserves: 14 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 15 Sio Siua Taukeiiaho, 16 Nat Butcher, 17 Victor Radley 18 Sitili Tupouniua, 19 Kurt Baptiste, 20 Reece Robinson, 21 Frank-Paul Nuuausala

Sea Eagles: 1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Matthew Wright, 3 Moses Suli, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Akuila Uate, 6 Dylan Walker, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8 Addin Fonua-Blake, 9 Apisai Koroisau, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 Shaun Lane, 13 Jake Trbojevic Reserves: 14 Lewis Brown, 15 Frank Winterstein, 16 Lloyd Perrett, 17 Taniela Paseka 18 Tom Wright, 19 Jackson Hastings, 20 Tevita Funa, 21 Toafofoa Sipley

Verdict: The Roosters were beaten soundly on Anzac Day by the Dragons, while internal strife continued to worry the Sea Eagles as they lost to the Knights at home.The Roosters are still struggling to find their best form, but should be able to defeat the Sea Eagles in this one.

Tip: Roosters

TAB oddsSydney Roosters $1.30, -8.5 $1.80 Manly $3.60, +8.5 $2

 

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