If you wanted a tough week of rugby league to tip, Round 9 might just about take the cake. This is The Roar’s NRL expert tips as we attempt to navigate through the next eight games.
Even the round opener, the struggling Cowboys against the back-to-back premier Roosters, brings with it questions, given the match is in Townsville.
When that’s the easiest game of the week, you know it’s going to be a doozy.
Friday sees the Titans play the Warriors and South Sydney play the Tigers in a pair of games that could go either way. One because both teams are at the bottom of the table, the other because it’s an under-performing Rabbitohs against the inconsistency of the joint venture.
Saturday brings fresh tipping horrors with the over-achieving Panthers to travel to Kogarah for a clash with the Sharks, before the Broncos play the Bulldogs in a game that both clubs will be desperate to win, and the battered and bruised Raiders host a team they have had the wood over recently in the Storm.
As if that isn’t all tough enough, the Knights then play the Eels, and the Dragons host the Sea Eagles on Sunday. This is a week with the potential to shake tipping right up.
Speaking of shaking things right up, Mary and myself led the way last week with seven tips a piece. AJ and The Crowd had six, while everyone else had five.
It means I’m now tied with The Crowd just a point behind AJ, with Mary a further two points back, and David equal last with The Barry another two back.
Remember to get your tips into the form below by 6pm (AEST) on Thursday to join The Roar’s NRL tipping competition for 2020 and be featured as part of The Crowd’s tips for Round 9.
Tips: Roosters, Warriors, Rabbitohs, Panthers, Broncos, Raiders, Eels, Dragons
Still in the lead, still dominant. But I’m gracious enough to tip my cap to Mary who was a dodgy penalty away from 2020’s first perfect round, and to Scott who’s put back-to-back sevens together. It’s all admirable but along with The Crowd, you’re all stuck looking at my ‘magic happens’ bumper stickers.
The Roosters should do enough to get over the Cowboys up north in a run-of-the-mill win.
Warriors versus Titans is a brutal one for the tipster – both teams are on my “do not tip” list, but we are forced. If I can’t pick a draw, I’ll say Warriors, who showed plenty of heart against insipid Brisbane.
South Sydney and the Tigers will be an interesting one. Souths have the back line. Tigers are pretty good too though. If Wests can get it into a grind they can win, but they won’t. Bunnies in a close one.
Penrith should get past a sneaky good Cronulla side, who have shown they’re good enough to beat the spuds, but not quite there to beat those above them. Panthers got dragged into a fight last week and were hardly convincing, maybe if the Sharks can do it too they’re a chance.
I’m going with Brisbane over the Bulldogs in the Comedic Relief Cup. I’m not watching this game and I suggest you don’t either.
The mighty Canberra Raiders will put 56 on the hapless Melbourne Storm, who are undoubtedly feeling the effects of pouring everything they had into beating their Roosters nemesis in golden point. Canberra basically don’t have a forward pack – and they won’t need one.
Eels versus Knights should be good fun. The Knights will have a real crack, the Eels might well get caught napping but they won’t lose.
Finally, Mary McGregor’s mob will just slide past Manly. The Sea Eagles put up a big fight against Newcastle last week but the Dragons are showing better signs, even if it’s in eight-minute bursts.
Tips: Roosters, Warriors, Rabbitohs, Panthers, Bulldogs, Storm, Eels, Sea Eagles
The Roosters may be without some of their key players including Boyd Cordner, Daniel Tupou and Victor Radley but I am still tipping them to beat the Cowboys this weekend. The Cowboys continue to be underwhelming, particularly in attack and given the Roosters’ performance against the Storm last week, I can’t tip against them.
The Titans and the Warriors is a surprisingly hard game to tip. Both teams have some talent, but seem to lack that final ten per cent polish to win football games. With the return of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and the confidence from a win last weekend, I am backing the Warriors.
The Rabbitohs should be too strong for the Tigers, but I am expecting this contest to be close. The Tigers gave the Panthers a real scare last week and the Rabbitohs should not take them lightly.
The Sharks may be coming off an impressive three-game winning streak, but that will end this weekend against the Panthers, who are high flyers at the moment. Viliame Kikau is in exceptional form and the Sharks will again be disrupted without Matt Moylan.
Could this be the 2020 spoonbowl? If so, I certainly didn’t expect the Broncos to be there. The Bulldogs have been gutsy in recent weeks, but lack the finesse to score points. But I’m predicting them to beat the hapless Broncos, who don’t seem to have any answers, demonstrated by Anthony Seibold’s decision to make very few changes to his starting side this week (bar the forwards).
The Raiders and the Storm should be an absolute cracker. While the Raiders haven’t been in the best form, this is always a contest that has a lot of fire. I’m tipping the Storm based on their performance last week, no matter the situation they seem to find a way to win the game. The return of Cameron Munster should also help take some of the attacking pressure off Cameron Smith.
Another cracker. The Eels had a big win over the Cowboys last week, but the Knights had a gutsy win and were able to hold on against the Sea Eagles. I’m tipping the Eels in this one. The return of Nathan Brown is big. The Knights will certainly be a test for the Eels and I’m looking forward to see how Jai Field performs against stronger competition. Keep an eye out for Stefano Utoikamanu, who is set to make his debut.
Manly should have no problem beating the Dragons. They were impressive against the Knights and that was even without Tom Trbojevic and Dylan Walker.
Tips: Roosters, Titans, Rabbitohs, Panthers, Bulldogs, Storm, Knights, Dragons
Tipping is a hard game. It’s particularly hard when you tip five and go backwards, or when one of your teams misses out on a potential golden point victory because the bunker can’t pick a push in the back. But there’s no time to be bitter. There are no sure things this weekend, so ladders can be climbed. That’s what I’m intending to do.
There is trouble in North Queensland. Val Holmes is now a very expensive winger (this Sharks supporter is just slightly happy with this), with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow named at fullback. They are back home in Townsville, but run smack into a Roosters side unaccustomed to losing two in a row. Boyd Cordner is out with a head knock and Daniel Tupou is sidelined, but they still have enough class.
Let’s look at the form line of the Titans and Warriors. They seemed to get pumped by everyone else but both beat the Broncos. So that gives us approximately, well, nothing. Both remain injury hit. I’m going the Titans purely in the belief that the Warriors can’t win two in a row.
I have this theory about the Tigers. Their attitude alone beats ordinary teams but they come up short against quality outfits where attitude is not enough. My problem this week is that I’m not sure what category the Rabbits fit into. Souths definitely have a quality squad but only limped home against the Bulldogs last weekend. I’m going the Rabbits because at some stage they have to fire up. I’m hoping it’s this week.
The Sharks return home to Kogarah – whoa, what? – with three straight wins under their belt. However, they run into a Panthers team that is looking likely to be playing plenty of finals footy this year. It’s a real test for the Sharks, and with no-one to copy off, it’s a test that they will fail. Having said that, it’s great to have one of the best names in the NRL, Ronaldo Mulitalo, make his return.
I keep tipping the Broncos in the belief that they will come good, but they just don’t. Seibold hasn’t made any mass changes and judging by the definition of insanity, he may be living on the edge here. The Bulldogs have absolutely nothing going for them after losing Adam Elliott for the season. But they will always have a crack and try to keep errors to a minimum. That could be enough in this early battle for the spoon.
The Raiders have a good record against the Storm, but they are missing half their forward pack. Like many, I thought the Storm without Cameron Munster last weekend were no chance, but they are like that Chumbawamba song. You know, something about having a whisky drink and a cider drink and getting knocked down but getting up again. I think it was called Tubthumping. The Storm are like that, just when you think that they can’t win, they do. I think their forwards will get a roll on over Canberra so the Storm will win.
The Eels will look to hang on to their premiership lead at Newcastle on Sunday. Despite sitting fourth on the ladder, the Knights are still not necessarily front of mind when thinking about premiership contenders this year. There’s a smell of an ambush here, where the Eels could do without Mitchell Moses for one week but not for two. Kalyn Ponga has been quiet for a few games so is due. I think he will prove the difference this week.
As if Tom Trbojevic being injured isn’t enough, Addin Fonua-Blake couldn’t button it after the game last weekend and is suspended, where he’s required to write “I must not swear at referees” 100 times. I tipped the Eagles last weekend and they just looked short on ideas as to how to cross the line. St George Illawarra are not as bad as they were. With absolutely no confidence, I will pick the Dragons.
Tips: Cowboys, Titans, Tigers, Panthers, Bulldogs, Raiders, Eels, Sea Eagles
These tips are coming in hot from the chilly NSW south coast. In between bush walks, fishing, whale watching and wood fires, I’ve found a couple of minutes to hopefully tip a few NRL games.
I’ve got no idea who’s in or out but given my form, I don’t think that will be a disadvantage.
I’ve ignored my gut a few times recently to my tipping detriment so in that spirit I’m tipping the Cowboys. Teams often struggle backing up from Melbourne and I think the Roosters are in a bit of a tapering period before the run home.
Titans at home? They’re on the improve and funnily enough the Warriors aren’t looking great away from Gosford.
Tigers on a roll. Souths pack struggling. Tigers.
Sharks are surging, but the Matt Moylan and Shaun Johnson combo has been interrupted again. Panthers, just.
Never has one player held the hopes of so many fans. Welcome, Luke Thompson. He should add starch to the Dogs’ middle third, inspire a bit of aggro from his fellow forwards, lay on a few tries and cook the halftime sausage sizzle. Bulldogs in a British boil-over.
Teams often struggle backing up from the Roosters, so Raiders.
Acid test for the Knights. They’ve been up and down form-wise and face one of the competition heavyweights. Eels.
At least one Manly fan is calling on the creation of a double bunker so Des Hasler can request a coach’s challenge against a first-level bunker call. If that doesn’t work they’ll call for a Bozo challenge followed by a Zorba challenge.
They shouldn’t need any this week.
Tips: Roosters, Warriors, Tigers, Panthers, Broncos, Storm, Knights, Dragons
Gee, this is a tough week to tip. Every game is one where you can find a reason both teams will win.
And I’m almost taking the Cowboys in the first game. The Roosters have lost a couple of stalwarts and match-day travel to Townsville is proving a tough beast to deal with. I’ll take the Tricolours, but an upset wouldn’t surprise.
Give me the Warriors to beat the Titans. I don’t like tipping them to win two in a row, but they looked better last week. Fired up almost. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck is back and it should prove the difference.
I don’t like the way Souths are playing at all. The Tigers were pretty gutsy against the Panthers last week, and while Joey Leilua is a loss, they could well walk away with the two points here.
Penrith should do the Sharks, but this is the sort of game the Sharks don’t mind. Get it into a scrap and see what happens. They won’t have quite enough to make it three on the hop, though.
Brisbane. I can’t tip Canterbury because they don’t know where the try line is. The Broncos are abysmal, but they have to win sooner or later. Surely they can’t lose seven straight. It’ll be another “full support of the board” for Seibold on Monday if they do.
Canberra don’t have a forward pack at the moment. John Bateman, Sia Soliola, Emre Guler and Corey Horsburgh. If they were playing lesser opposition, I’d back them to have a fair chance of picking up the win, but not against Melbourne, who are overdue for a win against the men from the nation’s capital, having lost the last three in this head-to-head match-up.
As much as I’d like to tip Parramatta because I’m thrilled to see Jai Field getting a chance and killing it, I’m unsure if they can perform at the same level against good opposition. Let’s face it, the Cowboys are not good opposition in Sydney. Newcastle have been playing well, and their defence is magic. They will win.
And finally, like The Barry and his Bulldogs, I’m not getting many chances to tip the Dragons this year. No Fonua-Blake, Dylan Walker and more importantly Tom Trbojevic leads me to go into Sunday night’s clash with a bit of optimism.
|Round 9||AJ||Mary||David||The Barry||Scott||Crowd|
|NQL v SYD||SYD||SYD||SYD||NQL||SYD||?|
|GCT v NZL||NZL||NZL||GCT||GCT||NZL||?|
|SOU v WST||SOU||SOU||SOU||WST||WST||?|
|CRO v PEN||PEN||PEN||PEN||PEN||PEN||?|
|BRI v CBY||BRI||CBY||CBY||CBY||BRI||?|
|CAN v MEL||CAN||MEL||MEL||CAN||MEL||?|
|NEW v PAR||PAR||PAR||NEW||PAR||NEW||?|
|STI v MAN||STI||MAN||STI||MAN||STI||?|
Be sure to get your tips in on the form below by 6pm (AEST) this evening, and we will publish the results of The Crowd’s tips before the first game of the round kicks off.