NRL reaches Round 9 this weekend with all eight matches in ‘Magic Round’ will be played at Suncorp Stadium.
The biggest of them sees Sydney Roosters and Canberra Raiders collide in a top three battle.
We preview all eight games in Magic Round weekend.
Gold Coast Titans vs Cronulla Sharks
The first of eight games taking place during this weekend’s Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium sees the Sharks and Titans square off in a vital game for both teams. Cronulla have won the last two matches between the teams, and after their respective performances last week, they will be confident of making it three. The launch of Magic Round might been the Titans will keep it close due to the atmosphere, but Cronulla are the better side and bring winning form into this clash – they should be make it back-to-back wins on Thursday night.
Prediction: Sharks win ($1.71 TopBetta)
Wests Tigers vs Penrith Panthers
Wests Tigers aim to snap a five-match losing run to the Penrith Panthers on Friday night. On a five-match losing streak against the Panthers, including a 9-8 defeat back in Round 4, the Tigers will also be desperate to bounce back from a 20-point hiding to competition leaders the Roosters last week. I think Penrith can scrape out a win here – the Tigers are very erratic and have suffered some heavy defeats in recent weeks. It’s a toss-up, but I’m leaning on the side of Penrith.
Prediction: Panthers win ($1.96 TopBetta)
Manly Sea Eagles vs Brisbane Broncos
Although this is technically a Manly home game, the Broncos are playing in familiar territory as part of Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium. However, the Sea Eagles would be confident of beating Brisbane at any venue around the country going by the two teams’ respective form this season. Brisbane’s youngsters are struggling, while Anthony Milford and Jack Bird simply aren’t playing to their lofty price tags. Manly are defending brilliantly under Hasler, and unless the Broncos improve significantly, they will be confident of grinding out another win.
Prediction: Manly win ($2.38 TopBetta)
Canterbury Bulldogs vs Newcastle Knights
Newcastle will be out to snap a six-game losing streak against the Bulldogs when the two sides launch Super Saturday of the Magic Round. Winless against the Bulldogs over the last six years, the Knights will start this encounter as favourites after stringing together back-to-back wins for the first time over the last fortnight. Newcastle have a stronger team on paper and bring winning form into this clash. It’ll be a very poor loss if the Knights fail to continue their momentum and lose to the bottom-placed side.
Prediction: Knights win ($1.55 TopBetta)
New Zealand Warriors vs St George Illawarra Dragons
After both teams leaked 30 points last week, the Warriors and Dragons will each be determined to immediately return to the winners circle. Both teams are failing to back up their starts to the season from last season, but I’m leaning on the side of the Warriors in this one. The Kiwi club usually play well in Brisbane and had the wood over the Dragons last year, winning both encounters, including snapping St George Illawarra’s six-game winning start to the season.
Prediction: Knights win ($2.24 TopBetta)
Melbourne Storm vs Parramatta Eels
It’s fourth vs fifth in the third game on Super Saturday with the Storm and Eels squaring off for the only time this season – barring a finals clash of course. Parramatta have troubled Melbourne in recent years, winning against them in 2015, 2016 and 2017, while they suffered a two-point loss last season. In their current form and away from Melbourne’s home turf, the Eels will back themselves to take this one out – and if Blake Ferguson, Mitchell Moses and co. continue to fire, they are a solid chance.
Prediction: Eels win ($2.76 TopBetta)
Sydney Roosters v Canberra Raiders
Competition leaders the Roosters versus third-placed Canberra promises to be the match of Magic Round when the two teams do battle on Sunday. Canberra have a great recent record against the Roosters, winning their last three meetings, and they are a solid chance to make it four on Sunday. Their defence has improved considerably, while they are still as dangerous as ever with the ball in hand. It’s tough to go past the Roosters right now, but Canberra will push them all the way – and might even come away with the spoils here.
Prediction: Roosters by 1-12 ($3.10 TopBetta)
South Sydney Rabbitohs v North Queensland Cowboys
Souths will be out to maintain their status in the top two and maybe even jump into the competition lead when they face the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon. The Rabbitohs will know before they run out onto Suncorp Stadium if they can finish Round 9 at the top of the ladder. The Rabbitohs won both of their encounters last season by one point, but the Cowboys will do well to keep the game that close on Sunday. Souths were firing on all cylinders last week, and while a letdown wouldn’t be surprising, I think they will have too much firepower across the paddock for a Cowboys side who are still trying to click with their combinations.
Prediction: Souths by 1-12 ($3.10 TopBetta)