With the representative round now done and dusted, Australia coming up trumps over a gallant NZ squad and a thrilling 26 all draw in the City v Country match, we can now get back to the business of the 2014 NRL Telstra Premiership.
This week is Round 9 and what a beauty it is.
Things kick off on Friday night with two must watch derbies.
The first is a Sydney showdown between fourth and fifth on the NRL Ladder when the Wests Tigers play the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium.
The Chooks have won two on the trot, the last being their big 34 – 14 ANZAC Day victory over the Dragons.
The Tigers meanwhile were 15th this time last year but are now sitting pretty in the Top 4 despite going down in Round 8 (22 – 8) to the Titans.
It’s going to be a close one is our tip but think that the Roosters have the momentum and are more consistent as a whole so taking them.
- Tip: Roosters by 6 over the Tigers
The other Friday night clash is also a beauty with the Brisbane Broncos going up to North Queensland to take on younger brothers the Cowboys.
It’s the second time these two have played already this season, the first producing a 16 – 12 win to the Broncos back in Round 2.
Brisbane have the distinct historical advantage (26 out of 36 played) and sit sixth on the ladder.
Their recent losses have all bee brave, and a touch unlucky in a couple of cases, including the two point penalty shocker against the Rabbitohs (28 – 26) last round.
The Cowboys meanwhile are in trouble this season well down the ladder in 12th, but they did win their latest match in a big 42 – 14 victory at home over the Eels.
That home ground advantage, and desperation to get their season back on track before Origin rolls around and leaves them depleted again, could be just enough to see them scrape through.
- Tip: Cowboys by 2 over the Broncos
On Saturday night there are three games on the card, the best looking to be taking place at Cbus Super Stadium.
The first has the Gold Coast Titans playing the Bunnies, both coming off a Round 8 win.
The Gold Coast got up over the Tigers while South Sydney had that lucky two point win over Brisbane.
Souths are seventh on the ladder while the Titans are flying up in third, something no one would have predicted pre-season.
It’s pretty even history wise, the Rabbitohs winning six of 10 played, however the Titans have only won three of the past nine and none since 2007 between these two.
This is a test for the Titans then, but the Bunnies have some good tricks up their sleeve.
- Tip: Bunnies by 8 over the Titans.
Other games on our radar?
The second ranked Sea Eagles get a chance to make it four straight when they play a disappointing Storm (10th) outfit on Saturday.
Then competition leaders the Doggies take on the Dragons at ANZ on Sunday afternoon and will start deserving favourites as they chase down their fifth win on the trot this Mother’s Day.
See below for the full NRL Round 9 rundown, and then head to Ladbrokes.com.au for the weekend’s best footy odds!
2014 NRL Round 9 Draw
Friday May 9, 2014
Sydney Roosters ($1.25) v Wests Tigers ($4.20)
Allianz Stadium (7:40pm)
North Queensland Cowboys ($1.83) v Brisbane Broncos ($2)
1300 Smiles Stadium (7:40pm)
Saturday May 10, 2014
New Zealand Warriors ($1.48) v Canberra Raiders ($2.75)
Eden Park (3:00pm)
Gold Coast Titans ($2.85) v South Sydney Rabbitohs ($1.45)
Cbus Super Stadium (5:30pm)
Melbourne Storm ($1.48) v Manly Sea Eagles ($2.75)
AAMI Park (7:30pm)
Sunday May 11, 2014
Newcastle Knights ($1.60) v Penrith Panthers ($2.35)
Hunter Stadium (2:00pm)
St George Illawarra Dragons ($2.75) v Canterbury Bulldogs ($1.48)
ANZ Stadium (3:00pm)
Monday May 12, 2014
Parramatta Eels ($1.67) v Cronulla Sharks ($2.25)
Pirtek Stadium (7:00pm)