Merritt and Ferguson in line for Origin call up
NRL round 9 preview with Jake Keane
What a great win for Canberra last weekend over Melbourne. Now I’m red and green through and through, but will admit to having a soft spot for the Raiders this year. The club has more Indigenous players than any other in the NRL, and with the likes of Blake Ferguson, Reece Robinson and Edrick Lee out-wide, they are as fast as any backline in the comp and very exciting watch.
One of the stars for Canberra in that match was centre Blake Ferguson, who finished the game with a personal haul of 16 points, and now finds himself in contention for a NSW wing position, replacing the injured Brett Morris. South Sydney’s Nathan Merritt is another strong candidate. Both players will have a chance to impress selectors this weekend when the Raiders host Newcastle, and Souths host North Queensland.
The Cowboys just scrapped home against a late Parramatta comeback last weekend, while Souths continued to impress by overcoming a slow start to defeat Brisbane. I thought Brisbane, playing without Justin Hodges, could still take plenty of positives out of the loss, as they were competitive throughout.
Two big plays from man of the match Greg Inglis early in the second half proved the difference. Last week, GI was also named in the Rugby League Week player’s poll as the number one player in the game. The Cowboys have only won one of their past eight encounters with South’s and have a poor record playing at ANZ Stadium, which all points to a Rabbitohs’ win. The clash of two top-class forward packs in this match will be a feature.
The most interesting match of the round will be the clash between two top four teams, Manly and the Roosters at Brookvale Oval on Monday night. Manly are coming off two tough games but are always hard to beat at home while the Roosters have amassed a whopping 103 points, and conceded just 16 over their past three matches. Should be a great game.