Plenty to prove in NRL round 9

IT’S A BIG WEEKEND OF NRL FOR:

* Jason Taylor – It’s not so much a case of must-win for Taylor against South Sydney on Thursday night, but rather must-improve. Another shellacking like the one they copped from Canberra last week will likely see more names added to the fan petition pushing for his sacking, and there’s no doubt some factions of the Tigers’ board need to see some sign of turning things around

* Will Hopoate – As if turning out against your old club – with whom you’re embroiled in a legal dispute – isn’t bad enough, Friday’s match against Parramatta is also Hopoate’s last chance to impress NSW selectors. Given Hopoate will skip Canterbury’s Sunday matches, his next game following Friday night could well be on June 1 against Queensland if Laurie Daley picks him for the Blues

* Mitchell Pearce – After eight weeks of watching the Roosters’ season spiral to a one-and-seven start, Pearce will feel a range of emotions when he runs back onto Allianz Stadium on Sunday against Newcastle. Given they play Gold Coast after the Knights, this might give Pearce some chance of reviving the Tri-Colours’ season, but the Origin half will have his own personal demons to beat first

* Matt Cecchin – Handling the Roosters this weekend was always going to be a tough task and NRL referees boss Tony Archer has delegated it to one of his most-experienced men. Whether the Roosters win or lose the penalty count was always going to be a point of contention after Trent Robinson’s spray on Anzac Day, as will be how much review official Ashley Klein inserts his authority into the game

* Cronulla – Consider Sunday’s clash with the Broncos their litmus test. Having won their past five matches – the best streak this season – they’re one of the form teams of the competition but Brisbane are the first top-eight side they’ve met in a month. Win this, and it might be time to turn the light back on in anticipation of Harold Holt

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
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