A Roosters second-half landslide, a Warriors capitulation, a freakish Ryan Papenhuyzen try, a Panthers masterclass… oh and the Broncos finally won a game.
There was a ton of good stuff from round nine of the NRL and some bad. Two huge injuries have derailed one team’s premiership hopes, while two more teams solidified their title credentials.
Here is what we learned.
Cowboys 1642 Roosters
While the Cowboys got out to a 6-0 lead against the Sydney Roosters, was there any doubt the defending premiers would kick into gear? It was dramatic how swiftly it happened, but nonetheless they laid down the pain to easily cover the 13+ margin many had predicted.
Brett Morris had to withdraw late in the warm up with injury, which paved the way for one of the all-time Steven Bradbury performances from Matt Ikuvalu. The late inclusion scored not one, not two, but FIVE tries. There isn’t a bookie alive who wouldn’t have laughed in the face of any punter who would have dared suggest such thing could happen, but it did.
Titans 1612 Warriors
We got the tip right, but boy was it in the balance for a long time. At 12-0 down after 10 minutes, declaring the Gold Coast Titans specials and even worth a thought of a 13+ win seemed idiotic. Slowly the Gold Coast found their way into the contest as the Warriors slowly imploded, giving the Titans their third win of the season. A huge boost for the Titans as they look to avoid back to back wooden spoons, moving two games clear of Canterbury.
Rabbitohs 1810 Tigers
The 8-10 margin prediction – big tick for us. Dane Gagai scoring a hat-trick just days after mentioning his questionable tryscoring record at club level – that’s one we’d like to have over again.
This could prove to be a huge swing game for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, as they move to sixth place and could advance further if they defeat Newcastle next weekend. The Tigers reminded us of exactly what they are: competitive and gritty but lacking just that little bit extra that makes a genuine top-eight side.
Sharks 2456 Panthers
The Cronulla Sharks had taken some steps forward during their three-game win streak, but they must feel like they’ve just been kicked off the summit of Mount Everest. They never looked likely to win at absolutely any stage and had the score been closer, Penrith wouldn’t have leaked four tries.
For a few weeks we have spruiked up the Penrith Panthers as legitimate title contenders, but not even they would have predicted such a lop-sided and easy victory. And absolutely no one would have believed a kid on debut named Charlie Staines would score four tries and run his local pub back in Forbes out of beer.
It was a truly remarkable afternoon which saw our under 42.5 and Panthers 1-12 tips blown apart. It appears the Sharks are who we thought they were a few weeks ago before a brief resurgence, while any money on the Panthers to win the title is well and truly alive.
Broncos 268 Bulldogs
It’s almost hard to believe how bad the Canterbury Bulldogs are. Kyle Flanagan has scored more points on his own than Dean Pay’s entire team in 2020. Can we get a market on this being the case for 20 rounds? Flanagan is averaging near enough to 11 points per game, while the Dogs can only muster 10 per contest.
On the other side of it, finally Corey Oates saluted as the first tryscorer, albeit in his new role as a back rower. He was once regularly as short as $6 to score first in Brisbane Broncos games, but during his drought has blown out considerably. Will he be a mainstay in the back row, which would move Jamayne Isaako to the left win?
Brisbane may have won, but they still have a ton of headaches. Well done if you kept the faith. Despite the 18-point win, the line of 38.5 wasn’t breached.
Raiders 1420 Storm
To defeat the Roosters in Brisbane one week and back it up with a tough win in Canberra the next is mighty impressive, no matter how you look at it. The Melbourne Storm have quietly gone about their business this season and haven’t missed a beat despite being forced to relocate to Queensland. You’d have to think on the back of this result their premiership odds may have firmed as well as their minor flag chances, even with the great form of Parramatta and Penrith in front of them.
The Canberra Raiders’ premiership odds will drift again, especially with Josh Hodgson ruled out for the remainder of the season after he tore his ACL for the second time. Five weeks ago they looked primed for a return to the NRL Grand Final, but that must feel a million miles away on the back of this horrible news.
Knights 410 Eels
Has anyone worked out how the Parramatta Eels won this game? A quick piece of thinking from Clint Gutherson got them home in a dogfight, but Newcastle must have been thinking they blew a great chance to defeat one of the big wigs. It looked like the Knights were going to score on four or five different occasions, but Parra kept finding a way to keep the home team at bay.
In a lot of ways, it may have been the Eels’ most impressive win in several seasons due to the manner in which they clawed their way to the finish line. Their premiership odds could firm much like Penrith’s, while Newcastle’s top four hopes have taken a slight hit.
Dragons 344 Sea Eagles
Dragons vs Sea Eagles
Can someone send a good hamstring to the Northern Beaches? Not only do the Manly Sea Eagles need Tom Trbojevic back quickly, but the competition needs it. Without him, the Manly attack struggles to finish good work on the inside, making them a tough watch recently.
The St George Illawarra Dragons, meanwhile, have turned a corner and may have some nuisance value during the back half of the season. They appeared to be a gift two points just a few weeks ago, but over the last month they’ve picked up wins over the Sharks and Titans and put forward a gritty effort against the Roosters. The Saints could be a banana peel for teams like the Rabbitohs, Raiders and Knights in the run towards finals.
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