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2017 NRL Round 9 preview and expert tips

Posted on 26/04 by Joe Gann

2017 NRL Round 9 preview and expert tips

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Brisbane Broncos v Penrith Panthers betting
Team Odds
Brisbane Broncos $1.45 Bet Now
Penrith Panthers $2.77 Bet Now

Friday’s triumph over the Rabbitohs was yet another victory for the Broncos achieved by the narrowest of margins; six of the Brisbane team’s eight matches so far have been decided by three points or less. Nevertheless, it was a satisfying victory that ensures Wayne Bennett’s men hover around the top four slots having navigated a tough opening round of fixtures thus far.

It was an incident-packed encounter at ANZ at the weekend, and the Broncos eventually prevailed amid some contentious officiating. A bewildering try award to Tautau Moga was augmented by the oversight that saw an Anthony Milford knock-on missed in the lead up to his match-winning field goal.

The absence of Ben Hunt was offset by the performance of Kodi Nikorima who is gradually easing his way back to form after his extended period on the sidelines following shoulder reconstruction surgery. His combination on the right side with James Roberts and Matt Gillett caused the Rabbitohs myriad problems in the second half and played a part in the Broncos’ victory. It was a measured performance from the Maroon and Golds, and the completion rate of nineteen from twenty sets highlighted their level of control. However, it still required a dose of good fortune to see them emerge with the two points over a determined Souths.

On the evidence provided so far, the Panthers don’t look likely to be playing finals football in 2017. With a top four finish looking like a forlorn hope, Anthony Griffin’s men face an uphill struggle to be involved at the business end of the year. Still presiding over a paltry tally of two victories from the opening eight rounds, the pre-season favourites languish in thirteenth spot on the ladder.

On Saturday against the Eels, they delivered a woeful performance in which the eventual six-point defeat painted them in a better light than they deserved. It was a demoralising fourth straight loss for the mountain men, and they will have to defy the history books if they are to make the finals this year. Only two sides have recovered to make the top eight (St George in 2008 and Manly in 2009).

They will take solace from the fact that they were just one win better off this time last year before a late surge carried them to a sixth-place finish and with more firepower at their disposal this time around, they can’t be written off just yet.

Recommended Bet
Broncos to win @ $1.45 $501 Bonus Bet*

South Sydney Rabbitohs v Manly Sea Eagles betting
Team Odds
South Sydney Rabbitohs $2.00 Bet Now
Manly Sea Eagles $1.81 Bet Now

The Rabbitohs could be forgiven for spending this week licking their wounds after finding themselves on the wrong end of some questionable decisions against the Broncos on Friday. There was no lack of heart from the Bunnies, and they can justifiably point to some big calls going against them as a major factor in the loss.

Controversy raged throughout the match, and Coach Michael Mcguire may have talked his way into a $10,000 fine after his withering attack on the bunker’s decision to award a Tautau Moga try. There was also a question mark surrounding Anthony Milford’s delay in leaving the field for an HIA assessment until after he had converted a penalty before the half back slotted over a match-winning drop-kick to seal the game. Souths started well against the Broncos and showed admirable resilience to fight their way back into contention after finishing the first half 18-8 down.

At times, a reckless display from George Burgess contributed to the Bunnies' downfall and the Englishman is now facing a 5-week suspension after a needless shoulder charge on Milford. Big brother Sam, eligible to play after successfully pleading his case at the midweek disciplinary hearing, led the way for his team with an exemplary showing. With 0 plays in the Broncos 20 before the break, the second half improvement will be an encouraging sign for a side missing the leadership of Adam Reynolds, but the stark fact is that McGuire’s men have now won just one of the last five.

The Sea Eagles have so far reserved their best performances for away ties, securing excellent wins at the Cowboys, Roosters and now the Raiders this term. Friday’s success at GIO Stadium may go down as their best of all though as the Silvertails went toe-to-toe with one of the competition’s most fearsome outfits.

Manly controlled large periods of the match, a feat in itself given the opposition, and achieved a 100% first half completion rate despite being unable to break down the Vikings’ defence. It wasn’t until the 45th minute, and 21st set, that Trent Barrett’s side committed their first error; a measured display that helped subdue a rampant Raiders for large spells. In a wonderfully entertaining game, the motivated Sea Eagles triumphed courtesy of a golden point penalty from the boot of Dylan Walker; the young centre redeeming himself for two earlier, more straight-forward failures.

It was a victory gained in a combustible atmosphere that threatened to ignite at times, Josh Hodgson’s sledging of Walker creating the main flashpoint at the tail-end of the game. The victory keeps the Sea Eagles in the top eight and judging by results so far, another away tie may be just what they want.

Recommended Bet
Sea Eagles to win @ $1.81 $501 Bonus Bet*

Nth Queensland Cowboys v Parramatta Eels betting
Team Odds
Nth Queensland Cowboys $1.69 Bet Now
Parramatta Eels $2.17 Bet Now

The return of Antonio Winterstein was crucial to the Cowboys last weekend as coach Paul Green leans on the more experienced players in his squad to help mentor the young prospects coming through the ranks. The win helps consolidate their healthy position in the top six and balance will be restored to the team upon the return of the irreplaceable Johnathan Thurston.

In his absence, John Asiasta has been the surprising figure to engage the playmaking duties with Michael Morgan adamant that his future does not include inheriting the number seven jersey from Thurston. Down 12-10 at half-time, the Cowboys recovered well in the second period to slowly take control in the second half, mainly thanks to a solid defensive display and heralded an improvement on last week’s loss at the hands of the Dragons.

A pleasing win for Brad Arthur’s side against sworn western Sydney rivals Penrith on Saturday wasn’t exactly greeted with unbridled enthusiasm by the coach. ‘We played dumb, really dumb’ was his scathing assessment of his side’s efforts despite securing back to back wins that have helped to kickstart a faltering campaign.

Two wins at ANZ Stadium within the space of five days will have gone a long way to lift the spirits for the Blue and Gold, In a scrappy encounter in which neither team emerged with much credit, the Eels had too much for their local rivals as they claimed two precious points that will help to keep them in touch with a coveted top eight spot.

Recommended Bet
Eels to win @ $2.17 $501 Bonus Bet*

Gold Coast Titans v Newcastle Knights betting
Team Odds
Gold Coast Titans $1.22 Bet Now
Newcastle Knights $4.45 Bet Now

A fantastic victory at the home of the Premiers on Saturday saw the Titans score a thoroughly deserved victory against the backdrop of what has been an extremely challenging few weeks.

Facing a Sharks side that was buoyant on the back of four consecutive wins, they found themselves up against a Gold Coast line-up that delivered the kind of display that has typified season. Once more, they were gritty and competitive for the 80 minutes only this time, finally reaped the rewards with a deserved two points.

The appearance of superstar Jarryd Hayne lifted the team, with the full-back picking up the ANZAC award for player of the game in one of his best performances since joining the club. It was Leivaha Pulu, however, who proved to be the match-winner, with the bench forward producing two tries in the final 13 minutes to stun the Champions.

The Titans find themselves in the strange situation that, despite lying third bottom, they have amassed a notable 172 points in the face of huge adversity this season. That late rally could be a turning point in their season, and with the inconsistent form of the teams above them, a charge up the ladder to contest the finals places is still not beyond them.

The Knights had the opportunity to see next year’s recruit Kalyn Ponga at close quarters on Saturday, and probably wish that they hadn’t. A man of the match performance, which included two tries from the talented full-back, helped the Cowboys gun down his future employers. The Knights led by 2 points at halftime, and are competing in games but seem unable to turn leads into winning margins. Nathan Brown cited consistency as a key area that the Knights need to improve upon, but a young squad still lack the match winning know how that other more seasoned teams in the competition possess.

With a transfer merry-go-round seemingly in full swing at the minute, it will be interesting to see if the Knights, with plenty of cash in the kitty, can snare a big name or two in the coming weeks.

Recommended Bet
Titans to win @ $1.22 $501 Bonus Bet*

Canterbury Bulldogs v Canberra Raiders betting
Team Odds
Canterbury Bulldogs $2.75 Bet Now
Canberra Raiders $1.48 Bet Now

Coach Des Hasler was left unimpressed in the aftermath of last weekend's loss to the Tigers. In a turgid affair, the result turned on a costly decision by Greg Eastwood to kick on the third tackle. A poor execution led to the Wests' making the most of the error and securing a late touchdown to snatch victory and consign the Bulldogs to their fourth defeat of the campaign.

With 122 points for, Hasler's men are the joint lowest scorers in the league – alongside the bottom placed Knights. The high-profile recruitment of Kieran Foran and Aaron Woods is clearly aimed at remedying that fundamental problem next season. However, it may be a weakness that proves fatal to their hopes of finals football in 2017. They welcome back Will Hapoate this week to an extended bench.

Despite a miraculous effort from Jordan Rapana, which looked to have won the match for the Vikings, Manly pulled off an unlikely victory at GIO Stadium last time out. The Lethal right edge combination of Joseph Leilua and Rapana targeted the soft underbelly of Manly, yet the Sea Eagles defied the Green Machine with a herculean effort.

This is the Raiders' first visit to Sydney this year after three away games in Queensland. Ricky Stuart stated that he is pleased with his side's progress so far despite the agonising loss, with the Raiders showing a defensive resolve that adds another facet to the team in which their attacking prowess frequently grabs the headlines.

Recommended Bet
Raiders to win @ $1.48 $501 Bonus Bet*

Wests Tigers v Cronulla Sharks betting
Team Odds
Wests Tigers $2.65 Bet Now
Cronulla Sharks $1.50 Bet Now

The Woods, Tedesco, Moses contract saga finally came to an end this week, and it would appear the ongoing negotiations have had no adverse effect on the trio. Alongside the re-signed Luke Brooks, the Tigers' key players each made substantial contributions to the shock victory over the Bulldogs in the ANZAC weekend fixture.

The impact of Woods' and Tedesco's decision to trade Concord for Belmore and Bondi respectively will have ramifications that will sweep through the competition over the ensuing weeks and months. Brooks' return has been particularly promising after three weeks out with a hamstring injury; as the only member of the so-called ‘big four' to commit his future to the Tigers' cause, his performance suggests there may be good times ahead for the club.

The news that the club has snared both Josh Reynolds from the Bulldogs and Ben Matulino from the Warriors is a major coup and will alleviate some of the pressure on Brooks as the Tigers look to reinvest their funds to shape a new look side in the upcoming months.

Saturday's shock loss to the Titans made it three home defeats for the Premiers already this year, further eroding the aura of invincibility the Sharks' enjoyed following just one defeat in the whole of 2016 at Shark Park.

It was a result that few predicted in the run up to the match; particularly considering Cronulla were in the middle of a four-match winning sequence. The game was punctuated with uncharacteristic sloppiness from the Sharks that saw Shane Flanagan's side finish with 38 missed tackles, sloppiness that allowed the Titans to launch a late comeback win. Despite exerting control for most of the match, they were unable to put it to bed, and a late rally from the Gold Coast side clinched a dramatic comeback win.

The Sharks welcome back Luke Lewis this week as they look to recover from last week's surprising reversal.

Recommended Bet
Sharks to win @ $1.50 $501 Bonus Bet*

New Zealand Warriors v Sydney Roosters betting
Team Odds
New Zealand Warriors $2.12 Bet Now
Sydney Roosters $1.75 Bet Now

The Warriors made life difficult for the Storm at least in Round 8, a vast improvement of the 42-0 embarrassment in the corresponding fixture last year. Although the New Zealanders were in charge for spells, the inevitably strong finish from Melbourne cemented a victory for the league leaders.

The nature of the performances in two of the country's most daunting venues – Canberra and Melbourne – over the past few weeks are proof that Stephen Kearney's side is heading in the right direction though. In Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Shaun Johnson and Kieran Foran, the Kiwis showcase enough talent to beat the best in the division, and if the continuity of these kinds of performances can be replicated, a top eight finish is not out of reach – particularly with Origin around the corner.

However, this week, the Warriors take on a revitalised Roosters side, fresh from inflicting just a second defeat of the season upon the Dragons. Mitchell Pierce was the hero of the hour with his golden point winner in that game as the NSW playmaker further pressed his claim for an Origin jersey.

In front of a record ANZAC day crowd at Allianz Stadium, the Tricolours triumphed in a full-bloodied affair against a resolute St George to draw level with their opponents on the ladder in the process.

Recommended Bet
Roosters to win @ $1.75 $501 Bonus Bet*

St George Illawarra Dragons v Melbourne Storm betting
Team Odds
St George Illawarra Dragons $2.75 Bet Now
Melbourne Storm $1.48 Bet Now

Gareth Widdop's decision to sign a new contract with the club was almost immediately tempered by the medial knee ligament injury that will see him out of action for possibly more than a month. The injury had a huge bearing on the outcome of Tuesday's loss to the Roosters, with a significant part of the Red V's attacking threat eliminated by the Captain's withdrawal.

His replacement Kurt Mann filled in solidly but the absence of Widdop who has been enjoying a stellar year thus far will be a huge blow to the Dragons. The Dragons had been in superb form prior to the game, with five wins on the bounce and were comfortable against the Roosters up to half-time. A gutsy second half showing wasn't quite enough though as they were undone by a golden point kick from Mitchell Pierce to put an end to their impressive winning streak.

It's worth noting that their remarkable form so far has seen them collect twelve competition points, half of their final total from the twenty-four rounds of the 2016 season.

It is now seven wins from eight for the pre-season favourites, as the Storm took advantage of rivals' slip-ups this week to move out on their own at the top of the ladder. A tight ANZAC day victory over the Warriors was earned courtesy of a typically strong finish by the Minor Premiers as they finally overcame the dogged Kiwi outfit.

The return of Will Chambers provided extra firepower in the three-quarter line; the centre ended the match with 177 run metres, 19 tackles, one linebreak and one try assist. Man-of-the-match Nelson Asofa-Solomona rounded off a cracking display with a first half try and boosted his chances of selection for the upcoming ANZAC test to boot. An underrated Melbourne pack will be tested against a powerful Dragons line-up in what will be a fascinating encounter - the absence of Widdop could be decisive in this one.

Recommended Bet
Storm to win @ $1.48 $501 Bonus Bet*

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