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NRL: Five things we learned from Round 9

Week nine of the NRL had a bit of everything, including arguably the shock result of the season so far as Wests Tigers pulled off a four-point win over Penrith Panthers.

The Tigers had not won a game in seven attempts heading into the clash, but somehow managed to see off the reigning premiers, who now sit 4-4 for the season so far.

There was more golden-point excitement with the Raiders pulling off what turned out to be an emotional 31-30 win over over the Dolphins, while the Bulldogs edged out the Dragons in another nail-biter.

South Sydney continue to shine as they beat the ladder-leaders Brisbane. There were also big wins for Cronulla Sharks, Parramatta Eels, Gold Coast Titans and Sydney Roosters.

The NRL never fails to excite in 2023, but what are the five things we learnt from Round 9?

The Rabbitohs are in hot form

After an up and down start to the new season, South Sydney look to have found their way and are sure to be challengers for the premiership in 2023.

Jason Demetriou’s side have now won four games on the bounce to jump to third place on the ladder, but it is the last two wins in particular that have really caught the eye.

In week eight they looked dead and buried against their bogey side the Panthers, but came fighting back at the death to snatch a 20-18 victory.

Then on Friday night they not only beat the ladder-leaders Brisbane, they did it in convincing fashion, winning the game 32-6 at Suncorp Stadium.

The Bunnies have a side packed full of quality and we know they will be in the mix come the business end of the season.

But based on recent form we have learnt they definitely have what it takes to win the grand final. They are priced at 5.50 to do just that.

The Raiders will miss Wighton

Not just for his ability on the pitch, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart was holding back the tears in the press conference following the win over the Dolphins.

Jack Wighton has agreed to sign for South Sydney from the start of the 2024 campaign and the move has filled plenty of column inches in the press.

Many have questioned his motives, but Stuart jumped to the player’s defence and says he simply wants a change of scenery following 11 years with the green machine.

The Raiders coach also got very emotional and revealed how much Wighton will be missed as a person.

There is also no doubt Wighton will be missed out on the field as well. He was inspirational against the Dolphins and also chipped in with a try during the 31-30 win.

The Raiders are priced at 3.00 to make the top eight.

The jury is still out on Penrith

Penrith are still the hot fancies at 4.25 to win the grand final, but the jury is still out as they sit seventh on the ladder with a 4-4 record.

It is still very early days, but when you consider they only lost four games in the entire 2022 season, it has to be a cause for concern.

So is the fact they lost at the weekend to a Tigers side in turmoil and one that had not won a game in seven.

The NRL is closer than ever this season though and even the Broncos at the top of the pile have lost two games, while everyone else above Penrith has lost three.

Related NRL News

NRL: Roosters facing tough Warriors trip

NRL: Penrith Panthers look to bounce back

Brooks still has what it takes

Staying with the Wests Tigers and their shock win over the Panthers, playmaker Luke Brooks showed he is still a class act.

Brooks has come in for some heavy criticism as the Tigers have struggled in recent seasons, but he is still a top player when outshining Panthers star Nathan Cleary.

The 28-year-old kicked two crucial 40/20's, produced four tackle breaks and also chipped in with an assist during the win.

The Tigers need more of the same going forward, but at least Brooks showed he still has it.

Hynes at the top of his game

Nicho Hynes is another player who showed his class at the weekend, helping the Sharks win their third game on the bounce.

They are now up to second and playmaker Hynes is earning rave reviews. So much so New South Wales legend Andrew Johns says he has to be Brad Fittler’s side for State of Origin in 2023.

The Sharks are priced at 9.00 to win the grand final.

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