JT’s Succinct NRL Tips: Round 9, 2023

Wayne Bennett and the Dolphins after the Titans went 26-0 up at Halftime

Coincidentally, the Redcliffe players were thinking the same thing when they realised they were going to have to face an angry Wayne in the sheds.

Well friends, this is now Round 9 of the Razzle Dazzle Rugbaleeg season, full of superb contests as we saw over Round 8, which now stands as the first Round in the NRL era in which every team scored 16+ points in a game… except the Raiders, ‘cos they didn’t play.

Of course, the gobstopping news from ANZAC Day, right in the middle of the Easts vs St George game, was the Rabbitohs’ signing of Jack Wighton from Canberra, on a contract well over a million dollars cheaper than his expiring Raiders contract, in a clear sign he just wants to try and win a premiership, and my goodness the Raiders took it right up the backside, sending the dot points to Paul Kent to read out on NRL 360 about how it’s all Penrith’s fault, and requesting a formal investigation by the NRL about the fine print on the paper…

Although, that bit involving the racist abuse of Wighton was a bit much.

Looking at the events last week, and it turned out that I was a mere minute away from getting a perfect 8/8, thanks to Thursday night’s result:

The Panthers looked like they’d done enough on Thursday night when Stephen Crichton completed his hat-trick with 10 minutes remaining to put the Riff up 18-10, but Souths with some Latrell power at the back barged over two tries in the final 5 minutes to record a rare win against the 2-time champions, although Michael Ennis somehow managed to make it about Nathan Cleary.

As expected, the Broncos were too good up in the rainy tropical conditions of Darwin against the Eels, as Payne Haas once again found himself in the gun for performing a hip drop on some poor bastard wearing blue & gold, and Ezra Mam has copped it as well.

Cronulla had an easy time against the Bulldogs’ backline in a game that was much closer than it should’ve been, and after yet another poor display from the Berries, Kyle Flanagan has paid the price by being dropped to the Canterbury NSW Cup team, who didn’t do anything to deserve it.

The Cowboys had a must-win against the Knights in Townsville, and they did just that by winning… by the hairs on their chinny-chin-chins.

The same could not be said for the Gold Coast Titans, who went into sheds 26-0 up on Redcliffe in a brutal 1st Half after scoring all their points in the opening 26 minutes… only for the Dolphins to match the NRL era record for the greatest comeback in history (Set by the Cowboys in 1998) to win 28-26.

Manly were given a big fight by the winless Wests Tigers in Campbelltown, as the Tigers led 16-14 with 10 minutes to go, only for the Silvertails to take the lead thanks to Jason Saab, right around the time Tom Trbojevic went off injured, and a late penalty goal took the miracle winning try out of play.

The highlight of the traditional ANZAC Day showdown between the Roosters and Dragons was Victor Radley being sin-binned for the 9th time in his career for an accidental head clash, surpassing Latrell Mitchell for the all-time record, however the Dragons failed to take advantage of the numerical advantage at 26 apiece, and Luke Keary kicked the field goal to give the Roosters their first win in a game that featured a Radley sin-binning.

And the lucky last game was the Storm against the Warriors, and in a game blighted by shithouse refereeing, to the point that it actively detracted from the spectacle, the Storm came back from 12-22 down to win 30-22, a bitter pill for the Kiwis to swallow after being so close to winning in Melbourne for the first time in 9 years.

So now we look at Round 9:

Cronulla host the Cowboys in the Shire in a rematch of the Qualifying Final, and the teams’ fortunes since then have taken polar opposite directions, as the Sharks remain right in the mix, and the Cowboys have been shunted back down to the cellar

A game between the 13th-placed Eels and the 12th-placed Knights gets its rightful spot… Friday at 6pm.

The Broncos get their biggest test since Round 1 as they play Souths at Suncorp in the prime-time slot on Channel 9

The Raiders are off to Wagga Wagga to host the Dolphins, as the Raiders grapple with the news about Jack Wighton’s impending departure, Redcliffe try and back up their mega comeback from Sunday, and the obvious key for the Raiders is that they can’t go 26-0 up.

The Sea Eagles host the Titans at Brookvale, and it seems Tom Trbojevic has been named despite his minor groin problem… a good night in bed should set that right.

Bathurst hosts it’s second-biggest sporting event of the year behind the Bathurst 1000 as Penrith play the Wests Tigers in a reunion with former Panther Api Koroisau, who has already played in as many defeats in 7 games with Wests (7) than he did in his 3 years with the Panthers (7 defeats from 63 games).

The Warriors host the Roosters at Mt Smart Stadium, and the referees won’t know who to screw over more, the Warriors for the simple fact they aren’t Australian, or the Roosters when Victor Radley gets within 2 feet of someone’s head.

And the last game features St George-Illawarra against Canterbury, a game that was once a fantastic grudge match between the neighbouring suburbs, but has been reduced to a laughing cripple fight.

Now, enough garbage, here’s the Round 9 tips:

Round 8 Score = 7/8, Progress Score = 41/64 (64%)

Round 9 =

Round 9 Lock of the Week

The Round 8 Lock of the Week got home by a bee’s dick thanks to the Roosters not quite totally blowing that lead on Tuesday afternoon, which means we’re still humming along this year with 5 wins and a draw from 8 games.

So, the Lock for Round 9….

Last round we waited until the last game, this time I’m going first game tonight – Cronulla vs North Queensland, it’ll be ANOTHER SHARK ATTACK IN THE SHIRE!

On that note, here’s Split Enz!

I’ll be honest, it came down to a choice of Baby Shark, the Theme from Jaws by John Williams, or re-using Shark Attack by Split Enz.

The Finn brothers won the argument.

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