NRL Round 9

Old rivals Parramatta  and Canterbury  do battle at ANZ Stadium on Friday night and while the Bulldogs deserve favouritism, the Eels will take heart from their comeback against the Wests Tigers which saw them fail by just one point to overcome a 0-30 deficit. The Dogs would have been disappointed in the loss to Manly but showed enough to suggest that they can match it with any side except possibly Melbourne. Des Hasler will be expecting a tough match against Parra and this could be close but the home side should prevail. Canterbury Bulldogs 1-12

The Cowboys  and Dragons  should be an interesting tussle in Townsville with the home side disappointed with their poor first half against South Sydney which cost them any real chance of winning, while the visitors are still wondering how they won the Anzac Day match against the Roosters. The Dragons always ensure a good crowd and that may just help to bring out the best in the Cowboys who need to start getting some consistency into their performances. In fact both teams are similar, good at times but ordinary at others. Another toss of the coin. North Queensland Cowboys 1-12

The Warriors  always give the Broncos  a tough game and Saturday afternoon at Mt Smart Stadium will be no exception. The Warriors have been patchy in form but were competitive for a long way in the clash against Melbourne and a repeat of that form will have them in with a good chance of handing Brisbane only its second loss of the year. The Broncos are going along well but the back injury to Sam Thaiday is a concern and coach Anthony Griffin knows that there are plenty of areas for improvement in the team. Could be an upset. New Zealand Warriors 1-12

Wests Tigers  should come away with a win against the Gold Coast  at Skilled Stadium but won’t want to ease up as they did in the one point victory over Parramatta. Tim Sheens will have read the riot act after allowing the Eels to score 30 unanswered points in the last fifteen minutes and Benjii’s boys won’t be falling into that trap again. The Titans were poor in the first half against Brisbane but made it 6all in the second half. John Cartwright has reason to be frustrated with his team’s showing but his cause is not helped by news of a bicep injury to Scott Prince which will keep him sidelined for some weeks. Wests Tigers 1-12

Penrith  faces another flogging in Saturday night’s home game against Melbourne . The Panthers at least scored some points last week after two 0-30 defeats but they were still very poor. Melbourne has had a long recovery period since Anzac Day, but will be primed for another strong performance and will have little trouble in keeping their unbeaten record intact. The Storm has won nine in a row against the Panthers and will rack up number ten this week. Melbourne Storm 13+

Manly  has a good record against Canberra  winning eight of their past ten encounters and although the Raiders seem to play better against the Sea Eagles at Brookvale than at home, it is hard to see anything but an Eagles win on Sunday. Manly is still without the injured five-eighth Kieran Foran but brother Liam is a capable replacement. Without Terry Campese, the Raiders look rudderless and it could be a long season for them from here on. Manly Sea Eagles 13+

The Roosters  scored a seemingly impossible win this year when they came from behind to down the Rabbitohs in Round 1, but they were visibly stunned by their Anzac Day defeat at the hands of the Dragons. How they have recovered mentally from that loss might decide the result against Newcastle at the SFS on Sunday. Newcastle  took a battering in their win over Penrith on Monday night and the loss of Kurt Gidley for the season is a major blow. Newcastle has won the last seven clashes against the Roosters at the SFS but this is the home side’s best chance to break the hoodoo. Sydney Roosters 1-12

Monday night football is at ANZ Stadium in what should be an entertaining clash between South Sydney  and Cronulla . The Sharks are aiming for seven wins in a row which would have been unthinkable at the start of the year while the Bunnies seem to be hitting their straps on the back of some standout performances from Greg Inglis and Dave Taylor. South Sydney has a good recent record against Cronulla winning their past five clashes but the Sharks have not had the confidence that this team is showing and Shane Flanagan has already staked a claim for coach of the year. South Sydney 1-12

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