A dramatic Round 9 of NRL on Nine’s Wide World of Sports has the Broncos hosting the Bulldogs, a titanic Maloney versus Thurston duel when the Panthers meet the Cowboys in Bathurst, and the grounded Sea Eagles looking for takeoff against the Roosters.
On Thursday Night Football, Wayne Bennett’s Broncos will be planning to stamp their finals credentials on their home patch, Suncorp Stadium, against the Bulldogs.
The Broncos have faced their share of early season adversity and ground out some gritty wins, including last week against the Rabbitohs, but sit in tenth place on the ladder, well below their expectations. In a boost for the home side, hooker Andrew McCullough returns from injury.
The Bulldogs will be growling in the cauldron of Suncorp, with the proud club needing a win led by NSW Blues forwards David Klemmer and Aaron Woods.
Nine’s rugby league expert, Paul Vautin, says: “I’ll give you one reason to watch this game and that reason contains two words: Payne Haas. This 18-year-old monster from the Broncos bench came on with 20 minutes left last week and he carved it up. At 200 centimetres and around 120 kilograms he was in everything, and my word, what a player!
“The Bulldogs are averaging only 14 points per game and that won’t be enough to trouble the Broncos.”
On Friday Night Football, we “go bush” when the Panthers take their home match to Bathurst where they will face some big-name Cowboys with a point to prove.
This clash features the two premier playmakers in the competition, Panthers and Origin maestro James Maloney in a battle of wits with Cowboys superstar Johnathan Thurston.
Nine’s rugby league expert, Peter Sterling, says: “We’ve seen some wonderful NRL clashes taken to country areas this season and the trend continues this Friday night.
“Whilst the forward battle will be ferocious, I can’t wait to see two of the game’s truly influential playmakers in James Maloney and Johnathan Thurston plotting against each other. Just one of many attractions in a game that sees the injury-riddled Panthers looking to again defy the odds and a Cowboys outfit desperate to resurrect their season.”
Sunday Football sees the embattled Sea Eagles on the flight path back to the winners circle against the star-studded Roosters at their home ground, Allianz Stadium.
Sea Eagles coach Trent Barrett has stuck to his guns and left former Rooster Jackson Hastings out of his final 17 in favour of seasoned first-grader Dylan Walker, with Moses Suli taking his place in the centres.
The inconsistent Roosters and their big-name recruits Cooper Cronk and James Tedesco are yet to hit full stride, and they’ll be showing Manly no mercy.
Roosters centre and NSW Blues hopeful Latrell Mitchell has burst out of the blocks to start the season and poses a huge threat to the Sea Eagles who, despite a difficult few weeks, have a history of performing when the chips are down and are happy to be underdogs.
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Thursday, May 3, 2018