Almanac Rugby League: NRL Round 9 fallout

I thought that Round 9 of the NRL would sort out the middle of the ladder somewhat; I correctly tipped 7 out of 8 results; should it not then follow that my prediction would play out? No, because it was the one that got away that leaves the middle of the pack in a muddle.

 

Here’s what I’m taking out of the weekend:

 

The Manly Sea Eagles are in big trouble! If the loss of Tom T and Dylan Walker wasn’t enough, the added absence of Addin Fonua-Blake has compounded their predicament. It only gets worse when they meet the Eels on Saturday night. But they have got Des Hasler, so anything might happen.

 

The Raiders are also in strife. Already a bit witless in attack, they’ve now lost Josh Hodgson, possibly for the season, and with him a lot of leadership and grit. It gets worse for them, too, as they now front the Roosters on Thursday night. But perhaps the Canberra boys have enough to hold off those teams below them. Tough times ahead for ‘Sticky’!

 

The Sharks were toothless against the revved-up Panthers and their flaky form must worry their supporters. They appear to be in a three-way battle for 8th spot with the Tigers and the Sea Eagles. A win against the Warriors on Sunday will keep their hopes alive.

 

The Newcastle Knights put up a big effort against the Eels but were undone by one moment of Clint Gutherson vision which resulted in the match-winning try to Maika Sivo. It wasn’t a pretty game to watch but, nevertheless, quite absorbing as the defences held out waves of attack at both ends. The Knights aren’t far off the pace but they’re just not quite there – yet.

 

The Broncos and Bulldogs showed why they’re towards the bottom of the ladder. What a substandard game that was! Broncos fans can only hope that a win at last might flick a switch to set them on a roll. Their confrontation with the Tigers on Friday night will tell us more. Similarly, the Titans, Warriors and Cowboys just aren’t up to scratch. Another expansion team, anyone?

 

So it seems that we have a pretty definite top four established – Eels, Panthers, Storm and Roosters. The next three seem to be, as per ladder, Knights, Rabbitohs and Raiders; then the three-way tussle for 8th. The rest can plan for next year.

 

Match of the week goes to the Knights v Eels game for its intensity, strong defence and, when the opportunity presented itself, a single, match-defining play from one of the form players of the comp. Team of the week  goes to the Dragons (!), friendless for most of the year and having a rare bright day, for their comprehensive win over Manly. Player of the week goes to Matt Ikuvalu (Roosters) – 5 tries as a last-minute replacement! And a rare Twit of the week shared by Josh Reynolds and Latrell Mitchell – they penalised their own teams and did their next Round opponents a big favour.

 

More on Thursday.

 

@blenheimboy2

 

Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.

 

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About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A Queenslander through and through, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. I enjoy travel, good coffee and cake, reading, and have been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. As well as being one of Footy Almanac's online editors, I moonlight as an editor for hire - check me out at www.writerightediting.com.au

Comments

  1. Liam Hauser says

    I reckon Latrell Mitchell deserved a longer suspension than Josh Reynolds. What Reynolds did was an accident even if it was unsavoury, but Mitchell’s subsequent action was grubby and inexcusable.

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