The Newsroom previews round nine of the NRL in which Mitchell Pearce returns from suspension to bolster the struggling Roosters.
Wests Tigers v South Sydney Rabbitohs
Tonight the Wests Tigers take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium. Both sides are desperate for a win; the Rabbitohs have not won a game since round five and the Tigers haven’t won since round two. The key match-up is expected to be between fullbacks Greg Inglis and James Tedesco. Tedesco needs to impress to win the NSW number one jersey and Inglis, struggling for form, will want to make the most of his strength and speed. The Tigers are at 14th on the ladder and the Rabbitohs are on 11. Both sides are desperate to break free of the cellar.
Sydney Roosters v Newcastle Knights
The Sydney Roosters will battle the Newcastle Knights at Allianz Stadium on Saturday evening. The Roosters welcome back Mitchell Pearce from an 8-week suspension for his drunken antics on Australia Day, and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, returning from injury. Their presence will be a massive boost for the young team. The Knights were gutsy in their loss to against Manly on Sunday but lost playmaker Jarrod Mullen to a hamstring injury. The key match-up is likely to be between half-backs Trent Hodkinson and Pearce, who will both be pushing their claims to a NSW jersey.
Cronulla Sharks v Brisbane Broncos
The Sharks take on ladder leaders Brisbane Broncos on Sunday afternoon at Southern Cross Stadium in what promises to be the match of the round. The sides are incredibly competitive so there are several key match-ups. The one to watch is James Maloney versus Anthony Milford. Maloney is well on track to be recalled for a NSW Origin jersey while Milford leads the Dally M tally. The Broncos will be without Adam Blair who was suspended for one match on a dangerous contact charge. – Jesse Mullens
Parramatta Eels v Canterbury Bulldogs – ANZ Stadium, Friday, 7:50pm
Penrith Panthers v Canberra Raiders – Carrington Park (Bathurst), Saturday 3pm
Manly Sea Eagles v North Queensland Cowboys – Brookvale Oval, Saturday 7:30pm
New Zealand Warriors v St George Illawarra Dragons – Mt Smart Stadium, Sunday at noon
Gold Coast Titans v Melbourne Storm – CBUS Super Stadium, Sunday 2pm
Photo of Mitchell Pearce from the Sydney Roosters’ Facebook page.