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Here is again, the tipping guru, Tipping Point. Coming off a ripper 7 tips from 8 last week, he’s back in business and ready to help you make that crucial choice that can make or break your own tipping season. So sit back, read, and enjoy the tips.
Round 9 Tips
Season: 41/64 (64%); last week: 7/8
At a glance: Rabbitohs, Eels, Panthers, Roosters, Cowboys, Dragons, Storm, Sharks
Rabbitohs v Tigers, ANZ Stadium
Seems like only yesterday these two sides blitzed the opening rounds of the competition and looked certainties for the top eight â€“ but the early optimism for both sides has been replaced with rumours of player unrest and poor team culture, and plenty of coach-sacking speculation for Wests. Since round three these two sides have mustered just one win between them, which is a dismal result for sides with this much talent. The Tigers in particular look shot, with last weekâ€™s 60-6 hiding against the Raiders bringing the axe closer to coach JT. I donâ€™t expect life to get much easier for the Tigers against the Bunnies, who gave a decent account of themselves against the Broncos last week and will be primed for a big game. Their superior pack will get them home, though I do expect the Tigers to respond after last weekâ€™s capitulation.
Eels v Bulldogs, ANZ Stadium
Ah the quirks of the NRL draw. These two sides met just six weeks ago at the same venue on the same night â€“ yet here they are again duking it out in another even money contest. The Eels got the chocolates in round three, and I expect them to get home again this week. While the two sides are separated by just eight points on differential, the Eels have been significantly more impressive this season and look the better choice, especially coming off a narrow loss to the Cowboys. The Dogs have spluttered their way to five wins in 2016 but theyâ€™ve been far from convincing. Based on this yearâ€™s win-loss-win-loss trend, theyâ€™re due for a loss.
Panthers v Raiders, Carrington Park (Bathurst)
Another fixture repeating an early season match-up with the Panthers and Raiders locking horns once again. The Raiders got the job done in round one, but the Panthers look red-hot in this Bathurst clash. With James Segeyaro and Dean Whare returning to first grade the Mountain Men look primed for a massive performance. They were desperately unlucky against the Sharks and in fact have been desperately unlucky most of the year. Theyâ€™re due for a win, and I think the Raiders will struggle backing up their thrilling victory over the Tigers last week. The Green Machine tend to struggle stringing wins together and the Panthers ought to reverse the round one result.
Roosters v Knights, Allianz Stadium
While I love matches between the gameâ€™s elite teams, nothing quite beats a bottom-of-the-ladder desperation slugfest. While these sides have been appalling in 2016, both will throw the kitchen sink at the other in an effort to get off the bottom of the ladder and bring some joy to their fans. Thereâ€™s no doubt that the Knights will have a crack, but surely the Chookies win this game. With Jared Warea-Hargreaves and Mitchell Pearce back on deck, they are specials to win the game, and probably a good bet to win the penalty count, too.
Sea-Eagles v Cowboys, Brookvale Oval
This is one of those awkward tips where you want to take the default option and side with the Silvertails at Fortress Brookvale, but the form of the Cowboys just stops you in your tracks. With Brett Stewart and Tom Trjbojevic in massive doubt, the Cows look like good things to romp home. Outside of the Broncos theyâ€™re easily the best team in the competition and I donâ€™t think Manly can match it with them, even with some decent form on the board and Daly Cherry-Evans back on deck.
Warriors v Dragons, Mt Smart Stadium
Despite a 42-0 drubbing last week and injuries to Simon Mannering and Tui Lolohea, the Warriors are strong favourites against the Red V who, after stringing together two wins, find themselves just outside the eight. This just seems crazy to me, especially given the fact that the Warriors havenâ€™t beaten the Dragons since 2007. While the Dragons arenâ€™t flashy, they are a tough, grinding side that tend to get the job done against lesser opponents. Thereâ€™s enough starch in their defence and commitment in their performance to get them over the line and heap more misery on Andrew McFaddenâ€™s men.
Titans v Storm, Cbus Super Stadium
Itâ€™s dÃ©jÃ vu all over again with the NRL draw dishing up another repeat fixture. The Storm and the Titans went toe-to-toe in round two and it was Melbourne who got the two points that night, however it wasnâ€™t the cakewalk that the 34-16 score line would indicate. The Titans have brought massive physicality and effort to every game in 2016 and they keep sides honest, even though they donâ€™t often get the victories. Tipping-wise this is the perfect example of when you just have to take the away favourites â€“ the Storm are professional enough to knock over the Titans but itâ€™ll definitely be a scrap.
Sharks v Broncos, Southern Cross Group Stadium
Easily the match of the round, despite my earlier praise for the battle of the cellar-dwellers. The Sharks and the Eels loom as the main threats to the comp south of the border and this Sunday afternoon clash will give a good indication of Cronullaâ€™s premiership aspirations. This is Brisbaneâ€™s first day game all year and with five Broncos set to line-up in Fridayâ€™s test match, I give the Sharks a real chance of nailing the upset. With Andrew McCullough missing through injury the Broncos are definitely vulnerable, and I can see the Sharkies bashing their way to a close win in front of their home fans.