Round nine of the 2021 NRL Premiership all of a sudden has huge implications for a number of teams, while there are also several blockbuster clashes for the fans to enjoy.
The South Sydney Rabbitohs will be without two of their star backs for their return clash against Melbourne, but it still feels like there is an expectation they can get the job done.
The Parramatta Eels and the Sydney Roosters headline Friday Night Football, and it could be one of the games of the year despite the enormous injury toll facing the Chooks. Just how they continue to get up off the canvas on a weekly basis is becoming one of the storylines of the year.
And all of a sudden, the XXXX Derby has some life for Saturday night. Brisbane and North Queensland will play in Townsville in what is arguably the best modern rivalry the game has to offer, and it feels like either team can win the contest.
Let’s look towards the rest of round nine.
NRL Round 9 odds & matchups
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Melbourne Storm
South Sydney have only beaten Melbourne five times in their history, and without Adam Reynolds and Latrell Mitchell, it is going to be a tall order. Does Benji Marshall have another classic performance left in him to spearhead the upset, or will the Storm continue their dominance over the Bunnies? With their star halfback, this game for Souths would have felt like a ‘test’ game to see where their form really is, but the significance for later in the season takes a back seat. Melbourne come in as the $1.45 favourite at Sportsbet.com.au despite being the away team, while the Rabbitohs are the home underdog at $2.75.
Penrith Panthers vs Cronulla Sharks
Cronulla needed an easier game to try and get their first win under Josh Hannay after a tumultuous affair in Melbourne, and they’ve been dealt the Panthers at Penrith. The Panthers are the $1.10 favourite as they attempt to win their 13th game in a row at BlueBet Stadium, and only a fool would suggest the Sharks at $7 are a legitimate chance of ending that streak. Cronulla did show against Melbourne as well as the Roosters they can trouble the best teams for periods in games, but they’re a long way from being the finished article and tend to leak a lot of points in quick succession. The first third of the regular season is in the books, and another win will see the $26 for Penrith to go undefeated start to tighten.
Parramatta Eels vs Sydney Roosters
It’s a shame Brett Morris and Lindsay Collins are out for the rest of the season, but that shouldn’t detract from this game as a spectacle. In fact, it may even add to it. Just how do the Roosters move forward with two of their big guns going down? Does it mean Joseph Suualii finally makes his much-anticipated debut as a 17-year-old? Can Sam Walker continue to light the league up in a way not seen by a young halfback since perhaps Tim Smith in 2005 or Greg Alexander in 1984/1985? As a $2.45 outsider, the Roosters could be good value as the underdog, but the strong record at Bankwest Stadium for the Eels is the big factor in their $1.55 favouritism. Footy fans will not want to miss this game.
Newcastle Knights vs Canberra Raiders
Two teams who had high expectations for 2021 all of a sudden find themselves in enormous form slumps. Canberra will take their home game to Wagga Wagga on Saturday afternoon, and they are the $1.45 favourites on that fact alone. Not a great deal in their play over the last month has been inspiring, but they get a great chance to secure a vital two points when they take on the Knights at $2.75. Newcastle have been quietly bad for a number of weeks, but being thrashed by the Roosters has bought it to everyone’s attention and now the heat is on. Both teams would kill for a win, and as fans, we can only hope both show up with that attitude.
Wests Tigers vs Gold Coast Titans
Much like the early game on Saturday, this contest has big consequences for the losers. If the Tigers lose, anything positive they got from their win over the Dragons will be forgotten. If the Titans lose, every fan in the game will call them a fraud and look at ruling them out as a finals contender. There is always a danger declaring this, but the Tigers are the bet of the round at $2.75. Have the online bookmakers paid attention to the Titans’ away form in 2021? They are the $1.45 favourite, but away from Cbus Super Stadium they’re conceding almost 24 points a game, and in the past fortnight they’ve let in scores of 36, 40 and 36. It may be the only week the form suggests to back the Tigers, but surely they can get the job done at home?
North Queensland Cowboys vs Brisbane Broncos
The XXXX Derby is one of the main attractions of any NRL season, no matter where these two clubs are running. The Cowboys missed a golden chance to move into the top eight last round, while the Broncos pulled off the great escape and set a new record for the biggest comeback win in the club’s history. North Queensland had won three in a row and showed some of their best footy in the second half against the Warriors, and as a result they are the $1.60 favourite at home. Brisbane at $2.35 is going to be one of the shorter prices they are all season. The Broncos showed plenty of spirit to upstage the Titans from 22-0 down, so why can’t the stun the Cowboys?
Manly Sea Eagles vs New Zealand Warriors
This feels like a game Manly should win as the $1.45 favourite, but the Warriors have proven all year to be a nightmare to tip against. It was a 13-12 win in round five against the Warriors which turned the Sea Eagles around, and just last week they scored 16 points against Penrith – a feat no team has been able to match in 2021. The Warriors fell across the finish line against the Cowboys and will head to Lottoland as the $2.75 outsider, but they did produce a wonderful 26-22 win at the ground only last season. The improvement in Manly has been stark, but the Warriors are always hanging around.
St George Illawarra Dragons vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Three weeks ago, the Dragons’ season promised so much, but they’ve struggled to score a point ever since. They’ve managed a grand total of only 32 points in their last three games, but they’ve been given a break by the scheduling gods to get the Bulldogs at home. So despised are Canterbury by the NRL bookies and punters alike, the Dragons are a $1.28 favourite despite their horror run over the last three weeks. Canterbury are at $3.75 and did win on their last visit to Kogarah less than a fortnight ago, but can they build their confidence back up to knock off a local rival? If the Dragons find a way to lose this game, their season could begin to look like the ones they’ve been famous for and the ‘chokers’ tag may return.
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