Round 9 of the 2012 NRL Telstra Premiership is shaping up as a cracker this weekend with many of the teams milking their full squads before the mighty State Of Origin leaves them bare.
The teams to back and sack are starting to become more and more apparent, as is the fact that the Melbourne Storm are going to be hard to beat as they look to complete their transformation from the team nobody wanted to know to the team everyone wants to bet on.
Melbourne are undefeated this season and are flying sitting on top of the Ladder with 16 competition points after their big 32 – 14 win over the Warriors on Anzac Day.
They play the Penrith Panthers on Saturday night and no guesses who’ll be at $1.01 and who at $101.
So who are the other team’s dominating the competition this year?
Week in week out the Brisbane Broncos are putting to bed all those rumours that without Locky they would be a shadow of their former selves.
The maroon and gold squad has only been beaten once and while they have looked a little uneasy a couple of times, they keep showing tenacity and holding on.
Cronulla Sharks have been the real surprise package of the season.
They are up to six wins and there will be a few punters feeling a bit silly having backed them for the Wooden Spoon in the off season.
With Todd Carney and Paul Gallen doing everything right and lifting the likes of centre Colin Best, halfback Jeff Robson and comeback hooker Isaac De Gois things are falling into place for the Sharks as proven by their blistering 44 – 22 victory over the green machine at Canberra Stadium last Sunday afternoon.
So can this top trio keep the purple patch going in Round 9?
Check out full NRLleague.com.au’s round preview with our tips for each match to place online at our No 1 recommended bookie – bookmaker.com.au.
2012 NRL Telstra Premiership Round 9
Friday May 4, 2012 (7:35pm) – ANZ Stadium
- Parramatta Eels ($2.80) v Canterbury Bulldogs ($1.45)
After the worst season opening in years the Eels finally broke their maiden status for 2012 in round five but they have failed to keep the momentum going losing every game since. Last week they gave us a thriller when fighting back to come within a point of the Tigers and they will be tired after the effort.
The Bulldogs meanwhile went down to Manly on Friday night. They’ve had a full seven days to work out how to get more points on the board.
Tip: Bulldogs by 4
Friday May 4, 2012 (7:35pm) – Dairy Farmer Stadium
- North Queensland Cowboys ($1.59) v St George Illawarra Dragons ($2.40)
It’ll be a big one up at Dairy Farmers tonight with the Cowboys looking to bounce back after a four point loss to the Rabbitohs last weekend. They get the home ground advantage, late mail being that Matt Scott will come in late, and the Dragons haven’t won up there since 2005.
Tip: Cowboys by 8
Saturday May 5, 2012 (7:30pm) – Mt Smart Stadium
- New Zealand Warriors ($2.20) v Brisbane Broncos ($1.70)
Many would have tipped Brisbane to be a little shorter than this, especially after they got the experience in the cold and wet ahead of their trip across the Tasman when the rain came down at home last Friday night.
They travelled to Perth earlier in the season and handled that so they should be okay in their first to NZ for the year, but they have been blessed with the Friday night slot at home so this will be a test.
Are the Warriors up for the challenge of facing the second best team in the competition? Maybe not but they’ll find this easier than facing Melbourne in Melbourne last week. Willing to suggest the Broncos might just have a humbling loss.
Tip: Warriors by 6
Saturday May 5, 2012 (7:30pm) – Skilled Park
- Gold Coast Titans ($3.70) v Wests Tigers ($1.28)
Ahh the Titans if ever there is a team we want to strangle it is them. Did you back them when they played Manly? If not this is your chance.
They were better in Brisbane than the score suggests last week and really kept the scoreline reasonable in the second half. The Tigers meanwhile let it all go in the final 10 and nearly lost to the Eels, kind of wish they had.
We are going to say the Titans here but not with a whole heap of confidence. Come on Gold Coast give the two people that show up at Skilled something to cheer for.
Tip: Titans by 2
Saturday May 5, 2012 (7:30pm) – Centrebet Stadium
- Penrith Panthers ($6) v Melbourne Storm ($1.14)
Okay so they’re not $101 but $6 in the NRL odds is pretty bloody juicy. Juicy enough for us to back the big cats over Melbourne? Hahahaha
Tip: Melbourne by 24
Sunday May 6, 2012 (2:00pm) – Brookvale Oval
- Manly Sea Eagles ($1.19) v Canberra Raiders ($4.90)
So the Raiders did nothing when assaulted by the Sharks last Sunday, but they really shouldn’t be at this price. We’ll take it though, thanks bookies.
Haven’t liked a thing Manly have done in recent weeks and to only beat the Doggies by two last week was sad. This one’s at Brookvale? Don’t care. This is our roughie tip of the year, don’t let us down Canberra.
Tip: Canberra by 4
Sunday May 6, 2012 (3:00pm) – Allianz Stadium
- Sydney Roosters ($1.58) v Newcastle Knights ($2.44)
The Roosters were far from disgraced when going down by just four to the Dragons on Anzac Day. They always lift for that classic clash however and it’ll be hard for them to keep it going is our bet.
They do have the fitness / freshness edge over the Knights who only played on Monday night. Yep Newcastle won by a big margin but they played a team that has been about as entertaining as a leaky tap.
Can’t back a team that played Monday night vs the big break the Roosters enjoyed.
Tip: Roosters by 6
Monday May 7, 2012 (7:00pm) – ANZ Stadium
- South Sydney Rabbitohs ($1.92) v Cronulla Sharks ($1.92)
Even odds? On teams that sit third and ninth on the ladder? Now this is interesting.
The Rabbithos held on to defeat the Cowboys last week but the Cowboys came off a big win from Round 7 and were probably still recovering.
Could this be the case for the Sharks on Monday? They were on fire at Canberra to win by double points (44-22) on Sunday. Do they need time to get over this and perhaps themselves with all the praise? Nope they’ll be right.
Tip: Sharks by 4