NRL round 9 review: Bunker blunder and bags of tries

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NRL round 9 saw the match of the round between the Raiders and Storm marred by a dreadful decision by the bunker and some other games featured plenty of tries.

Bailey Simonsson was desperately unlucky to be sin binned for a collision with Josh Addo-Carr while the Roosters’ Matt Ikulvalu and the Panthers’ Charlie Staines made the most of their teams’ dominance.

North Queensland Cowboys 16 – 42 Sydney Roosters

The Cowboys really seemed up for the fight in the first half and even led 6-0 after 30 minutes.

However, it was a totally different story after the 30-minute mark as they allowed the Roosters to score 7 tries unanswered in a totally inept defensive display.

That’s two weeks in a row they have fallen apart after looking competitive, so it appears there are some major issues at the Cowboys.

The Roosters were missing several players to injury and even lost Jake Friend during the match, but it did not matter one bit.

James Tedesco was voted the best player in the league by his peers during the week and it’s easy to see why as he dominated the Cowboys, but it was another Rooster who stole the show.

Matt Ikuvalu was a late callup after Brett Morris was injured in the warmup and managed to bag himself 5 tries playing on the wing. Not bad for a bloke who wasn’t playing an hour before the match.

NRL round 9 Matt Ikuvalu
Roosters fill-in winger Matt Ikuvalu nabbed five meat pies for the Tricolours as they touched up the Cowboys. Getty.

Gold Coast Titans 16 – 12 New Zealand Warriors

After being down 12-0 after 8 minutes, you thought the Titans might be in for a long night, but they showed plenty of fight to claw their way back.

The turning point of the match was when the Titans’ Ash Taylor went off the field with an HIA (Head Injury Assessment) with about 20 minutes to go and Jamal Fogarty took control of the Titans’ attack.

He looked comfortable commanding his side and with Taylor continuing to struggle for form, giving Fogarty control of the team may be the way forward for the Titans.

The Warriors turned up in a yellow and black checked jersey that resembled a tablecloth you might find at grandma’s home.

Despite the strange jersey, they played some good footy to start the match but just couldn’t go on with it for long enough.

Some simple skill errors late in the match cost them dearly as a win would have had them equal on points with the 8th placed Tigers.

South Sydney Rabbitohs 18 – 10 Wests Tigers

This was 8th vs 9th heading into the NRL round 9 match, but it felt like the Rabbitohs were far too good for the Tigers.

The score read like a close match but the Rabbitohs scored 4 tries to 2 and if it wasn’t for some poor goal kicking from Adam Reynolds, they would’ve won by more.

The major talking point from the NRL round 9 game came early on when Josh Reynolds was chasing a loose ball and dangerously attempted to kick it just as Campbell Graham was picking it up.

Graham was fortunate to not be seriously hurt as Reynolds’ shin collected him square in the face. The act saw Reynolds cop a two-game suspension just as he was cementing his place in the first-grade side.

It didn’t stop with the kick as Latrell Mitchell was clearly angered by the action, came running in with a swinging arm and hit Reynolds from behind.

It was a case of Mitchell trying to stick up for his teammate, but he went too far and copped a two-week suspension himself. It’s a costly suspension for the Rabbitohs as they face a tough couple of weeks with games against the Knights and Raiders.

NRL Round 9 - Wests v Souths
Things got heated between Wests and Souths when a wild kick from Tigers half Josh Reynolds smacked the face of Souths’ Campbell Graham. Getty.

Cronulla Sharks 24 – 56 Penrith Panthers

It was an absolute try fest in this one as the Panthers ran up a big score against the Sharks.

The Sharks had been in good form in recent weeks but were no match for the second placed Panthers.

They fell behind 26-0 after 27 minutes and were never in the hunt from there, perhaps showing they’re a fair way off the best teams in the competition.

The Panthers continue to prove themselves as premiership contenders as they bagged 10 tries to show their attack has come a long way since last season.

The star of the game was young Charlie Staines on debut who scored 4 tries in front of some of his mates who had travelled from Forbes to watch him.

Unfortunately for Staines, he was caught up in COVID controversy after hosting a little party with his mates after the game and now finds himself stood down from playing duties.

NRL Round 9 - Staines Penrith
Charles Staines of the Panthers crossed for four tries on debut against Cronulla. Getty.

Brisbane Broncos 26 – 8 Canterbury Bulldogs

Finally! After 6 long weeks, the Broncos finally have a win on the board, and we can stop hearing about them in the media every two hours.

It’s been a tough period for the Broncos, but they’ve finally broken through for a much-needed win, albeit against the worst team in the competition.

Tevita Pangai Junior was the star of the match with some lovely offloads leading to points.

They face a tougher challenge next week against the Tigers, but if they can grow off this performance, they’re every chance of causing an upset.

The Bulldogs just look completely lost out on the field and never looked like winning this match.

It was a performance that has seen their coach Dean Pay leave the club as the Dogs have their eye on Trent Barrett to replace him.

Whoever ends up replacing Pay will have their work cut out for them, as they look a long way from being competitive.

Canberra Raiders 14 – 20 Melbourne Storm

This was just a horror night for the Raiders.

The first try of the night to the Storm came from a horrific mistake from Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad that he rarely, if ever, makes.

There was the dud call from the bunker that saw Bailey Simonsson sin binned and the Storm score a crucial try with him off the field.

Then Elliott Whitehead looked certain to score a try before being ankle tapped and landing about a foot before the line and fumbled the ball.

And to cap off the close 6-point loss, they lost co-captain Josh Hodgson and Simonsson to season-ending injuries to add to their already large injury list. Shocking night.

The Storm’s standout performer was fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen who showed off his blistering pace with a 90-metre breakaway try.

The Storm have found some good form in recent weeks, but this was a sloppy performance from them and they were fortunate to get the win.

NRL round 9 Josh Hodgson
Canberra rake Josh Hodgson went down with an ACL tear in a horror night for the Green Machine against rival club Melbourne. Getty.

Newcastle Knights 4 – 10 Parramatta Eels

This was a top four showdown coming into NRL round 9, but it turned into a pretty scrappy affair.

The Knights were back at their home ground for the first time since the competition restarted but couldn’t get over the line in front of their adoring fans.

The Knights had plenty of ball in their attacking end late in the game and Tex Hoy looked to have scored a try that would send it to golden point. However, Hoy was just offside from the Kalyn Ponga kick and their golden opportunity went begging.

The positive for the Knights is they kept the rampaging Eels to just 10 points in a show of how far their defence has come this season.

The Eels continue to find ways to win games and remain on top of the ladder.

Four of their past five victories have come by 6 points or fewer and despite hosting a plethora of weapons in attack, it is their defence that is their best asset.

The Eels have conceded just 96 points through their first 9 games which is a league best and the reason they are premiership favourites along with the Roosters.

St George Illawarra Dragons 34 – 4 Manly Sea Eagles

The Dragons were the laughingstock of the NRL one month ago and the media had coach Paul McGregor all but gone.

They’ve since won 3 of their past 5 matches with competitive losses against the Roosters and Raiders and now find themselves just a game outside the top 8 following NRL round 9.

The Dragons have always had enough talent on paper to be a finals team but are now finally starting to play well on the field.

The media love to get stuck into a coach when their team is struggling but McGregor deserves some recognition for his team’s turnaround. They still have a way to go but there are good signs at the Dragons.

Manly are missing a host of stars and have now lost their past 3 matches to be 10th on the ladder.

Addin Fonua-Blake was a huge loss for Manly and they struggled for momentum in the middle of the ground.

Once the Dragons got on top, the floodgates opened and Manly conceded 3 tries in the final 10 minutes.

They will once again be without Fonua-Blake when they take on the ladder-leading Eels next round and will need a dramatic turnaround to be competitive in that one.

NRL Round 9 Euan Aitken
Dragons centre Euan Aitken scored just before full time as his side fired up for a 34-4 win over the Sea Eagles. Getty.

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