Sosaia Feke scores in the corner for the Sharks against Brisbane on Sunday.

It was a dramatic week in the NRL even before a ball was kicked in anger with the Warriors dropping six players, Wayne Bennett reportedly blocking Anthony Milford from playing for Samoa, while Semi Radradra was picked for Australia after changing his allegiance. 

The biggest news though was Kieran Foran standing down for personal reasons, with the rugby league community rallying around one of the game's genuine nice guys.

Here's a quick look at Round 9 of the NRL Telstra Premiership.

 


Where do we start? After being beaten by 54 points, the Tigers lost Mitch Moses right before kick-off, with Chris Lawrence only told he was to play in the halves 10 seconds before the game started. The Tigers then thanks to a starring performance from Luke Brooks raced out to an 18 point lead in as many minutes, before losing James Tedesco to injury at half-time. The Rabbitohs rallied before the Wests Tigers kicked away in a bizarre game of football. Sam Burgess left ANZ Stadium in a moon boot with an ankle injury. 

It was the Rabbitohs' fourth loss in a row, while the Tigers ended a six-match losing streak. 

 

 


Parramatta were without Foran, but were not lacking in motivation as Corey Norman stepped up and helped the blue and golds to a heartfelt victory over the Bulldogs. Brad Takairangi played in the halves, and the Eels lost the returning Tim Mannah to a shoulder injury in the first half, while Michael Gordon went off with a quad strain.

But the Eels showed enormous heart to beat the Bulldogs, while Des Hasler's men continued their inconsistent start to the season.

 

 


Another game, another nail-biter. When Penrith jumped out to a 12-point lead in Bathurst, it finally looked like they would have an easy afternoon, but they were their own worst enemy in the second half and invited Canberra back into the contest. The Raiders scored twice in the final 10 minutes to lock the scores before an Aidan Sezer field goal missed and the Panthers made no mistake with under two minutes remaining, Peter Wallace kicking the important one point in somewhat controversial circumstances. It was the Panthers' ninth game in a row decided in the final minutes and eighth in a row decided by five points or less. 

 

 


Mitchell Pearce returned from his eight-game suspension and looked like he hadn't missed a beat, helping guide the Roosters to a breezy 38-0 victory over Newcastle at Allianz Stadium. Blake Ferguson scored a hat-trick, while Jackson Hastings had arguably his best game for the Tricolours. Newcastle debutant Brock Lamb looked solid at five-eighth in a badly beaten team. They have a long way to go, but could this be the turning point in the Roosters' season? 

 

 


North Queensland easily accounted for an injury ravaged Manly who lost Dylan Walker during the game to injury. Johnathan Thurston and Michael Morgan were at their best, but the game wasn't as one-sided as the scoreline suggested. 

 

 


Warriors coach Andrew McFadden stood six players down before the match, they were without inured stars Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Simon Mannering, but the team responded with vigour to beat the more fancied Dragons. 

 

 


Suliasi Vunivalu has surprised even the Storm coaching staff with how he has taken to the top grade and the great story continued with another double as the Storm kept the Titans scoreless, the second week in a row they had managed to keep their opponents to zero. It was the Titans' fifth loss in a row and after a great start to the year, the weight of the season finally looks to be taking its toll on the Gold Coast outfit. 

 

 


The Cronulla Sharks made it six in a row with an impressive win over the ladder-leading Broncos on Sunday afternoon. The Sharks raced in 28 first-half points in a show of power that they are in this premiership race up to their eyeballs. 

 

 

 

NRL Telstra Premiership Table after Round 9:

Club

Pld

W

D

L

+/-

Pts

Cowboys

9

7

 

2

140

14

Broncos

9

7

 

2

135

12

Storm

9

7

 

2

98

12

Sharks

9

7

 

2

61

12

Eels

9

6

 

3

45

10

Bulldogs

9

5

 

4

21

10

Raiders

9

4

1

4

18

9

Panthers

9

4

 

5

-11

8

Sea Eagles

9

4

 

5

-24

8

Warriors

9

4

 

5

-42

6

Dragons

9

4

 

5

-97

6

Rabbitohs

9

3

 

6

-17

6

Titans

9

3

 

6

-41

6

Wests Tigers

9

3

 

6

-55

4

Roosters

9

2

 

7

-40

4

Knights

9

1

1

7

-191

2