Tipping has never been harder and with so many teams a mere win away from getting into the top 8, it is not about to get any easier. Our man, Tipping Point, will try to guide you in the right direction, as he casts his eye over the week that is from a tipping perspective. So if you are uncertain as to who you should pick, this could be your guide.
Round 9 Selections
After a weekâ€™s break for representative fixtures the NRL action returns, and not a moment too soon â€“ I was at a loss last weekend without eight games to watch. Admittedly the rep fixtures were all entertaining, especially the Pacific tests which were phenomenal. Itâ€™s always interesting to see how teams shape up after the rep weekend as thereâ€™ll be some dented pride, some new-found self-belief and with Origin jerseys on the line thereâ€™s plenty to play for. Confounding matters this week are some high profile ins (Aidan Guerra, Billy Slater, Beau Scott), outs (Kieran Foran, Greg Bird, Josh Reynolds) and rumoured ins and outs (Darius Boyd, Matt Moylan, Jamie Soward, Adam Reynolds) which makes for another tricky week of tipping. Some matches pick themselves this week, but thereâ€™s plenty of juicy 50/50s to give us all a headache.
Season: 35/64 (55%) â€“ Last week: 3/8 â€“ Stand-outs: 3/8
Broncos v Panthers, Suncorp Stadium
Fairly confident with this one â€“ the Broncos should get the job done. If you take their great record at Suncorp, great form and settled side it all adds up to a reasonably bankable tip, although things will be close should Moylan, Segeyaro and Soward all be named. Even if they do play, Iâ€™d still take the Broncos to win their seventh at Suncorp from their last eight games. Darius Boyd is expected to return which will give them a boost at the back.
Roosters v Tigers, Allianz Stadium
The Roosters have lost four straight, which is just unfathomable given their roster. That said, their past three losses have been against good opposition by a combined margin of just four points. They havenâ€™t been far away, and the return of Guerra will add plenty of punch to their edge. I like the Tigers, but I think a week off wouldâ€™ve been just the tonic for the out-of-form Chooks and they should get up.
Raiders v Titans, GIO Stadium
Two of the NRLâ€™s real surprise packets come up against each other on what should be a great game of footy on Saturday afternoon. Thereâ€™s plenty to like about both sides, but I think the Raiders are well overdue for a home victory: after knocking off the Tigers and the Bunnies on the road, theyâ€™ll be desperate to notch a win in front of their home fans for the first time in 2015. Losing Bird and Falloon is also massive for the Titans, and while theyâ€™re at their best when nobody expects much of them, I donâ€™t think Gold Coast can win this.
Sharks v Warriors, Remondis Stadium
The NRLâ€™s two most unreliable teams face off at twilight at Shark Park in what is a nightmare game for tipsters â€“ whichever way you tip youâ€™re taking a massive chance. After stringing together three wins the Sharks came back to earth with a massive thud in round eight, losing to an undermanned Panthers outfit. While they welcome back Andrew Fifita, thereâ€™s still no sign of Paul Gallen â€“ and Ben Barba has been named to start at fullback, but expect him to rotate through the bench. The Warriorsâ€™ Kiwi contingent should be full of confidence after their dominant test win, and Chad Townsend is auditioning for a big Sharks contract for 2015: call me crazy, but I like the Warriors here. With their season on the line and behind their monster forward pack, I think theyâ€™ll be too good for the Sharks.
Cowboys v Bulldogs, 1300Smiles Stadium
Players are slowly returning for the Dogs with Klemmer and Josh Morris returning, but I just donâ€™t give them much hope of a win in Townsville. The Cowboys are the form team in the comp and even though theyâ€™ve got some injury concerns (Taumololo, Moga, Bolton), they should have a few too many tries in them for a grinding Dogs outfit.
Manly v Knights, Brookvale Oval
This is not as straightforward as it looks: normally youâ€™re crazy tipping anyone except Manly at Brookie, but I really like the look of the Knights team and with Beau Scott returning they are a massive chance to knock over the Sea-Eagles, whoâ€™ll be without Foran, Matai and plenty of others. Mateo and Starling are rumoured to be returning, but I think the Knights will get them: they have a big, tough pack that ought to have too much grunt, giving their slick backline plenty of chances to run in some points.
Eels v Storm, Pirtek Stadium
This is another awkward one. The Eels are a completely different prospect playing at Pirtek and I love the return of Radradra, but Iâ€™m still going to take the Storm â€“ even though they were poor against Manly in round eight. Billy Slaterâ€™s return and Melbourneâ€™s desperation to bank as many competition points before the Origin period leaves me feeling pretty keen on them, but I wouldnâ€™t be at all surprised if the Eels played out of their skin and jagged a victory.
Rabbitohs v Dragons, ANZ Stadium
A tough way to close out the week. This is one that I wish was played on a Friday night so weâ€™d at least have the late mail before tipping comps are locked out! So much hinges on whether Adam Reynolds plays. The Bunnies have been rudderless since his injury and I donâ€™t see them winning this match if he doesnâ€™t line up: Keary is playing hurt, and they look disjointed through the backs. Glenn Stewart has also been ruled out, although this is offset by the return of John Sutton. And as for the Dragons? Plenty of people reckon the week off will be a big momentum killer, but Iâ€™m inclined to tip them. The Dragonsâ€™ D is just first-class, and theyâ€™d dearly love to knock-off their arch rivals. Dugan is under a cloud but I suspect heâ€™ll play in a bid to make Origin. Dragons in a nail-biter.
Follow Tipping Point on Twitter: @tpoint1908