NRL Tips & Preview – Round 9

Palmerbet Blog

Sports writer, JASON OLIVER, looks over all 16 teams and previews this weekend’s Rugby League action with his NRL tips for all Round 9 matches.

Rabbitohs Broncos
Blake Taaffe 1 Te Maire Martin
Alex Johnston 2 Corey Oates
Isaiah Tass 3 Kotoni Staggs
Campbell Graham 4 Herbie Farnworth
Josh Mansour 5 Selwyn Cobbo
Cody Walker 6 Tyson Gamble
Lachlan Ilias 7 Adam Reynolds
Tevita Tatola 8 Corey Jensen
Damien Cook 9 Billy Walters
Thomas Burgess 10 Patrick Carrigan
Keaon Koloamatangi 11 TC Robati
Jai Arrow 12 Jordan Riki
Cameron Murray 13 Kobe Hetherington
Siliva Havili 14 Cory Paix
Hame Sele 15 Rhys Kennedy
Liam Knight 16 Thomas Flegler
Jaxson Paulo 17 Keenan Palasia


History:
Played 36, Broncos 12, Rabbitohs 23

Last Meeting: Round 1, 2022: Broncos 11 def. Rabbitohs 4

Final Thoughts: The Brisbane Broncos played out one of their better games across the last three NRL seasons to beat the Sharks 16-7 at Suncorp Stadium in Round 8. Meanwhile, the South Sydney Rabbitohs spent most of their 40-22 win over the Sea Eagles running at 12 men.

Liam Knight is back for the Rabbitohs which pushes Davvy Moale to the reserves and Shaq Mitchell out of the 24. Taane Milne is available for selection but Isaiah Tass keeps his spot in the centres. The Broncos will be without Payne Haas and Kurt Capewell for this one. TC Robati is into the backrow while Patrick Carrigan will make a timely return from injury to start at prop.

It’s difficult to take too much out of Round 8 for the Rabbitohs. Sure, they looked better. But who wouldn’t against what was mostly a 12-man Sea Eagles side? Again, we’re left wondering whether or not they’ve turned a corner or if they’re still struggling to find their feet without Adam Reynolds. He’s finding his in Brisbane after leading the Broncos to an impressive win last week. The problem for Thursday is the absence of two key contributors in Haas and Capewell. Hass, in particular, is a huge loss through the middle. The Broncos right edge defence has performed well to start the 2022 NRL season. They closed the Rabbitohs down in Round 1 and kept a lid on the Sharks in Round 8. Kotoni Staggs hasn’t been his best with the ball but this is the best period of his career without it. While the Broncos are down in troops, they match up well with the Rabbitohs and are in promising form where it matters defensively. They are terrible away from Suncorp, however. On the up and at home, the Rabbitohs should end up on top in this one.

Tip: Handicap – Broncos +12.5 @ $1.90

Raiders Bulldogs
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 1 Matt Dufty
Nick Cotric 2 Brent Naden
Jarrod Croker 3 Aaron Schoupp
Matthew Timoko 4 Jake Averillo
Jordan Rapana 5 Josh Addo-Carr
Matt Frawley 6 Matt Burton
Brad Schneider 7 Kyle Flanagan
Josh Papalii 8 Luke Thompson
Adam Elliott 9 Jeremy Marshall-King
Joseph Tapine 10 Paul Vaughan
Hudson Young 11 Corey Waddell
Elliott Whitehead 12 Tevita Pangai Junior
Ryan Sutton 13 Josh Jackson
Tom Starling 14 Bailey Biondi-Odo
Corey Harawira-Naera 15 Joe Stimson
Sebastian Kris 16 Max King
Corey Horsburgh 17 Ava Seumanufagai


History:
Played 38, Raiders 20, Bulldogs 18

Last Meeting: Round 10, 2021: Raiders 20 def. Bulldogs 18

Final Thoughts: Ricky Stuart was left seething after his Canberra Raiders side dropped yet another halftime lead in falling to the Warriors 21-20. The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, on the other hand, finally put together a winning performance to beat an out of sorts Roosters outfit 16-12.

Big changes for the Raiders this week but they’re not all as a result of another poor performance. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad returns to fullback with Jordan Rapana to the wing and Xavier Savage out of the side. Jarrod Croker is back for his first game of the 2022 NRL season to replace Semi Valemei in the centres. Jack Wighton will miss this one due to suspension which brings Matt Frawley in with Elliott Whitehead also coming back into the starting side. Josh Jackson is back for the Bulldogs and moves straight into the #13 jersey. Meanwhile, Brent Naden also returns and moves Jayden Okunbor out of the 17.

The Raiders have been terrible to start this season. Simply terrible. It was no surprise to see Stuart lost for words following their loss to the Warriors in Round 8. We can’t expect a bounceback game from them in Round 9 as last week was meant to be it… They do, however, come up against one of the worst teams in the competition on Friday and will be desperate to make the most of the opportunity to play themselves back into form. Sure, the Bulldogs managed a win last week, but they weren’t particularly good. Their attack is poor and a lot of the points they are scoring at the moment aren’t consistently repeatable. Barrett’s side is yet to score 20 points this year. While the Raiders know how to blow a lead, they also know how to build one. Stuart will know 20 points more than likely gets over the line on Friday. It’s a dangerous game trusting the Raiders given what they’ve dished up in recent weeks. However, Nicoll-Klokstad and Croker returning provides them with some more experience and two players that lead by example. Surely this is the week for the Raiders. Surely…

Tip: Handicap – Raiders -2.5 @ $2.05

Panthers Eels
Dylan Edwards 1 Clinton Gutherson
Charlie Staines 2 Hayze Perham
Izack Tago 3 Will Penisini
Stephen Crichton 4 Tom Opacic
Taylan May 5 Bailey Simonsson
Jarome Luai 6 Dylan Brown
Nathan Cleary 7 Mitchell Moses
Matthew Eisenhuth 8 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
Apisai Koroisau 9 Reed Mahoney
James Fisher-Harris 10 Junior Paulo
Viliame Kikau 11 Shaun Lane
Liam Martin 12 Isaiah Papali’i
Isaah Yeo 13 Nathan Brown
Soni Luke 14 Makahesi Makatoa
Scott Sorensen 15 Ryan Matterson
Spencer Leniu 16 Oregon Kaufusi
Jaeman Salmon 17 Bryce Cartwright


History:
Played 45, Panthers 24, Eels 21

Last Meeting: Finals Week 2, 2021: Panthers 8 def. Eels 6

Final Thoughts: The Penrith Panthers took 40 minutes to get into their work in Round 8 but eventually put it together well enough to beat the Titans 18-4 on the Gold Coast. The Parramatta Eels disappointed for the full 80 minutes against the Cowboys to be thrashed 35-4.

Ivan Cleary has named the same Panthers 17 again this week but that may change. Brian To’o and Moses Leota have been named in the reserves and are a chance at returning. Tom Opacic’s return for the Eels ends the Jakob Arthur experiment. He is back to the reserves with Dylan Brown into his rightful spot at five-eighth.

The Panthers are doing it easy at the moment. Even while somewhat struggling against the Titans, the result never really looked in doubt. However, they will face an Eels side known for a bounceback and one that is starting to get back to full strength with Brown in the halves again for Friday. The Eels have the cattle to keep this one close. The key to their performance will come down to patience and completions. While the Panthers lead the NRL in yardage with 1,809 running metres per game, the Eels are one of the few teams that can keep up with them through the middle at 1,750 metres per game (2nd in the NRL). We know the Panthers will adopt a patient approach and work towards their competition-high 36 tackles inside the opposition 20-metre line per game. They know the points will come if they are provided with enough opportunities to attack in good ball. Parramatta played exceptionally well before injuries took their toll. They played direct and less like the ‘throw it wide’ Eels of recent years. Their outside backs don’t match up with that of Penrith, but Parramatta can compete in the middle and keep this one close across the full 80 minutes.

Tip: Tri Bet (10.5) – Either Team by 10 or Less @ $2.35

Sea Eagles Tigers
Tom Trbojevic 1 Starford To’a
Christian Tuipulotu 2 Asu Kepaoa
Ben Trbojevic 3 Oliver Gildart
Tolutau Koula 4 Luke Garner
Reuben Garrick 5 Ken Maumalo
Kieran Foran 6 Luke Brooks
Daly Cherry-Evans 7 Jackson Hastings
Sean Keppie 8 James Tamou
Lachlan Croker 9 Jake Simpkin
Martin Taupau 10 Zane Musgrove
Haumole Olakau’atu 11 Kelma Tuilagi
Josh Schuster 12 Alex Seyfarth
Jake Trbojevic 13 Joe Ofahengaue
Dylan Walker 14 Tyrone Peachey
Ethan Bullemor 15 Alex Twal
Josh Aloiai 16 Thomas Mikaele
Toafofoa Sipley 17 Stefano Utoikamanu


History:
Played 32, Sea Eagles 18, Tigers 14

Last Meeting: Round 19, 2021: Sea Eagles 44 def. Tigers 24

Final Thoughts: The Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles never had much of a chance once losing Karl Lawton only eight minutes in but fought had throughout their 40-22 defeat to the Rabbitohs. Meanwhile, we’re waiting at least another three rounds before seeing the Wests Tigers record their first three-game winning streak since early 2018 with their latest two-game winning run ending with a 12-6 loss to the Dragons.

Tom Trbojevic is back for the Sea Eagles with Haumole Olakau’atu and Josh Aloiai arriving with him. Brad Parter and Jason Saab picked up injuries last week with Ben Trbojevic and Reuben Garrick to replace them. Unsurprisingly, Karl Lawton picked up a lengthy suspension for his dangerous tackle in Round 8. The Tigers will be without Luciano Leilua and David Nofoaluma this week to be replaced by Alex Seyfarth and Ken Maumalo. Jake Simpkin returns to hooker and pushes Jacob Liddle to 18th man. In positive news, Stefano Utoikamanu is back.

Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans dominated a man down last week. The Sea Eagles attack looked exceptionally dangerous despite only featuring 12 men. It’s a concern for a Tigers side that, while improved of late, does know how to open the flood gates when points start to flow. Olakau’atu and Trbojevic’s return gives the Manly playmakers two huge targets in attack and we can expect to see Olakau’atu, in particular, being run at a dodgy Tigers left edge. We’re still yet to see a coach apply a lot of pressure to Jackson Hastings with the ball despite averaging 96 touches per game over the last three weeks. The Tigers have looked much improved since he took control of the side. However, it’s only a matter of time before an opposition coach puts a target on his back and forces the ball into the hands of others, and we know what the Tigers look like in that case. The Sea Eagles have played well without Trbojevic in recent weeks but his return can trigger a restart to their season. Expect them to dominate this one at home from start to finish and make the most of this opportunity against an unconvincing Tigers outfit.

Tip: Margin – Sea Eagles 13+ @ $2.05

Roosters Titans
James Tedesco 1 AJ Brimson
Daniel Tupou 2 Greg Marzhew
Paul Momirovski 3 Brian Kelly
Joseph Manu 4 Patrick Herbert
Joseph Suaalii 5 Corey Thompson
Sam Walker 6 Will Smith
Luke Keary 7 Toby Sexton
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 8 Moeaki Fotuaika
Sam Verrills 9 Erin Clark
Lindsay Collins 10 Isaac Liu
Angus Crichton 11 Kevin Proctor
Sitili Tupouniua 12 Beau Fermor
Victor Radley 13 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
Drew Hutchison 14 Tanah Boyd
Fletcher Baker 15 Sam Lisone
Nat Butcher 16 Herman Ese’ese
Siosiua Taukeiaho 17 Sam McIntyre


History:
Played 22, Roosters 14, Titans 8

Last Meeting: Finals Week 1, 2021: Roosters 25 def. Titans 24

Final Thoughts: Everybody is still scratching their heads when looking at the Sydney Roosters. Expected to finally start to look like themselves in Round 8, they crumbled to a 16-12 defeat at the paws of the Bulldogs. The scratches are getting deep at the Gold Coast Titans following their fourth consecutive loss. This time, 18-4 to the Panthers.

The Roosters welcome back Daniel Tupou and Paul Momirovski this week; Kevin Naiqama and Adam Keighran make way. For the Titans, David Fifita is out for a month and replaced by Sam McIntyre in the squad. Like last week, Jayden Campbell is in the reserves and did impress at times for the Tweed Seagulls on Saturday afternoon.

We’ve got two teams that are terribly difficult to get a read on going head-to-head in this one. The Roosters just haven’t kicked on like many expected while the Titans look nothing like the Top 8 team of 2021. Now, the Titans are without their best – and sometimes only – strike weapon in attack in David Fifita. While it may be a good thing to spend time without him in the end, it’s unlikely to benefit the Titans this week against a Roosters side starting to get desperate. There is too much talent in the Bondi outfit for them to be so bad all season. Their pack can still match it with any middle in the NRL and few teams boast a more dangerous back-five. Sooner or later, it will click for Trent Robinson’s side. The Titans attack is poor and out of ideas. The spine is disjointed and may be changed again this week in the build-up. While they’ve always had a flurry of points in them, those flurries so often coincide with a leaking of points the other way. If the Roosters can keep it simple, hold onto the ball and apply pressure, they’ll win this one on talent alone.

Tip: Handicap – Roosters -9.5 @ $1.85

Cowboys Knights
Scott Drinkwater 1 Kalyn Ponga
Kyle Feldt 2 Edrick Lee
Valentine Holmes 3 Enari Tuala
Peta Hiku 4 Bradman Best
Murray Taulagi 5 Dominic Young
Tom Dearden 6 Tex Hoy
Chad Townsend 7 Phoenix Crossland
Jordan McLean 8 David Klemmer
Reece Robson 9 Chris Randall
Reuben Cotter 10 Daniel Saifiti
Tom Gilbert 11 Tyson Frizell
Jeremiah Nanai 12 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
Jason Taumalolo 13 Leo Thompson
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 14 Jack Johns
Heilum Luki 15 Jacob Saifiti
Coen Hess 16 Mat Croker
Griffin Neame 17 Pasami Saulo


History:
Played 40, Cowboys 19, Knights 21

Last Meeting: Round 16, 2021: Knights 38 def. Cowboys 0

Final Thoughts: The North Queensland Cowboys announced themselves as a legitimately good football side with an impressive 35-4 win over the Eels in Round 8. The Newcastle Knights, on the other hand, suffered another crippling loss in front of their home fans as the Storm ran riot to hang 50 points on Adam O’Brien’s side.

Todd Payten has the luxury of naming the same Cowboys side again this week. Interestingly, that involves Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow on the bench. Adam O’Brien, on the other hand, is getting desperate. Adam Clune is out injured and Jake Clifford hooked with Phoenix Crossland and Tex Hoy to start in the halves. Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Dom Young are back this week for Simi Sasagi and Brodie Jones.

The Cowboys have turned around the worst defence in the NRL last season to become one of the best to start this one. They scramble well, chase hard from the inside and look comfortable defending their own line. For the Knights, it’s close to the worst-case scenario for this week. While the 89 points scored against them is a huge concern, the Knights have scored only 46 points across the last six weeks and will now deploy Tex Hoy and Phoenix Crossland in the halves. Kalyn Ponga can inspire an improved performance with the ball. He’s touching it more than ever and has points in him alone. However, even if the Knights can find form in attack, their defence is still amongst the worse in the competition and the turnover of players in the line won’t help. Hoy defending at five-eighth, especially. There is little to get excited about from two down on the Knights list while the Cowboys are going from strength to strength as Payten uncovers key contributors filling important roles. The Cowboys aren’t at a level where you can trust them to put teams below them on the ladder away every week, but the Knights aren’t close. It will take a special collapse for the Cowboys to lose this one at home on a Saturday night.

Tip: Total Points Bands – Knights 10 Points or Less @ $2.45

Storm Dragons
Ryan Papenhuyzen 1 Moses Mbye
Nick Meaney 2 Mathew Feagai
Reimis Smith 3 Moses Suli
Justin Olam 4 Zac Lomax
Xavier Coates 5 Mikaele Ravalawa
Cameron Munster 6 Jack Bird
Jahrome Hughes 7 Ben Hunt
Jesse Bromwich 8 Francis Molo
Harry Grant 9 Andrew McCullough
Nelson Asofa-Solomona 10 George Burgess
Felise Kaufusi 11 Tariq Sims
Kenneath Bromwich 12 Josh McGuire
Josh King 13 Jack de Belin
Brandon Smith 14 Talatau Amone
Tyran Wishart 15 Blake Lawrie
Trent Loiero 16 Aaron Woods
Jordan Grant 17 Tyrell Fuimaono


History:
Played 39, Storm 27, Dragons 11

Last Meeting: Round 10, 2021: Storm 44 def. Dragons 18

Final Thoughts: Another week, another big win for the Melbourne Storm who thumped the Knights 50-2 in Newcastle. The St. George Illawarra Dragons are on a winning run of their own after making it three in a row with a 12-6 win over the Tigers.

The Storm will be without Tepai Moeroa for six weeks with Jordan Grant named to replace him on Sunday as the only change. Jack Bird has again been named at five-eighth for the Dragons with Talatau Amone to come off the bench. That leaves Jayden Sullivan at 18th man.

Rugby league isn’t fair sometimes. With the form Melbourne is in right now, this is one of those times. They’re scoring points for fun and make it look easy while doing it. Tries aren’t being scored in only one or two ways, either. Melbourne plays with variety all the way up the field. They will attack down the edges from 40 metres out and they’re the most efficient good ball team in the NRL. The Dragons, on the other hand, are limited in attack. They offer nothing in the air and their approach of pinning the opposition in their own end and waiting for a mistake won’t work this week. You need to fight fire with fire against the Storm and the Dragons don’t have it in them at the moment. Craig Bellamy is a master of removing the opposition’s best weapon so Ben Hunt is in for a tough time. Jesse Bromwich, in particular, will be in his face for much of the 80 minutes. As their best player and the heart and soul of their attack, it’s Hunt or nothing for the Dragons. Anticipating a quiet night from him relative to recent weeks, the Dragons will struggle to cross the line and keep up with the best-attacking team in the NRL.

Tip: Total Score – Under 41.5 Points @ $1.90

Sharks Warriors
William Kennedy 1 Reece Walsh
Sione Katoa 2 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Jesse Ramien 3 Viliami Vailea
Siosifa Talakai 4 Rocco Berry
Ronaldo Mulitalo 5 Adam Pompey
Matt Moylan 6 Daejarn Asi
Nicho Hynes 7 Shaun Johnson
Toby Rudolf 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
Blayke Brailey 9 Wayde Egan
Aiden Tolman 10 Matthew Lodge
Briton Nikora 11 Euan Aitken
Teig Wilton 12 Eliesa Katoa
Dale Finucane 13 Jazz Tevaga
Jack Williams 14 Jack Murchie
Cameron McInnes 15 Ben Murdoch-Masila
Wade Graham 16 Bunty Afoa
Royce Hunt 17 Aaron Pene


History:
Played 40, Sharks 24, Warriors 16

Last Meeting: Round 21, 2021: Warriors 18 def. Sharks 16

Final Thoughts: The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks copped a bit of a reality check last week as the Broncos handled them relatively comfortably to send them back to The Shire with a 16-7 loss. If you thought the New Zealand Warriors’ win over the Tigers would be the ugliest of the 2022 NRL season, think again. Their 21-20 win over the Raiders is a game nobody should have to go through again.

Dale Finucane returns for the Sharks pushing Cameron McInnes to the bench and Braydon Trindall to 18th man as the only major change for Craig Fitzgibbon this week. Nathan Brown is able to bring back Dallin Watene-Zelezniak but loses Jesse Arthars. Bayley Sironen is out to 18th man with Eli Katoa into the back row and Aaron Pene to the bench.

The Sharks are top team in the NRL at the moment but not good enough to do it every week just yet. They disappointed in Brisbane but return home to play a hapless Warriors side in Round 9. Not all wins are created equal and the Warriors’ 21-20 victory over the Raiders has topped their effort against the Tigers as the worst win of the NRL season. There is little for the Warriors to take out of it outside of the two competition points. Brown’s side will need to make massive improvements this week if they’re to keep close to the Sharks. Through the middle, in particular. The Warriors are 15th in yardage running for only 1,382 metres per game – almost 300m fewer metres than the Sharks. With a back-five that offers little in yardage and doesn’t inspire confidence in good ball, the Warriors are grossly outmatched from 1-7. Addin Fonua-Blake and Matt Lodge can get the Warriors up the field on a good day, but the Sharks only need to match them in the centre-third for their superior backline to get the job done. They may only be two competition points apart on the NRL ladder, but these two teams aren’t close.

Tip: Handicap – Sharks -13.5 @ $1.87