The Rugby League World Cup 9s tournament kicks off from Bankwest Stadium on Friday night, bringing football back to our screens.

Twelve of the world’s top rugby league nations are set to clash over two action-packed days, and with a number of the game’s brightest young stars set to shine, it’s worth looking at the market to try and predict a winner.

There’s a lot of value on the table, with several contenders poised to seriously challenge the favorites, so make sure to read our entire 2019 Rugby League World Cup 9s Preview below.

Pool A


  • $1.75 for the tournament winner
  • To qualify for the Grand Final: $1.45

Australia will field a less-than-star-studded squad this weekend, with the Kangaroos 16 lacking some of its usual punch.

This year’s headliners include Ben Hunt, Daly Cherry-Evans, Tyson Frizell, and Wade Graham, with Josh Addo-Carr and Kalyn Ponga in charge of bringing some speed to the attack. This year’s green and gold has a particularly youthful feel to it, but that hasn’t been enough to sway bookmakers elsewhere in the market.

The top two contenders (Australia and New Zealand) are in Group A, so the Aussies will need to be at their best. However, with lesser opponents like PNG and the USA in the same bracket, expect plenty of high-scoring games.

In the early stages, the Overs should be a strong bet, and don’t be surprised if Addo-Carr digs deep into his bag of tricks. Make sure to include the speedster in your multi’s after finishing sixth in total tries scored during the home/away NRL season.

NOW BET: Australia to Win


  • The tournament winner received $51.00.
  • To reach the Grand Finale: $17.00

The PNG 16 has a raw feel to it that could surprise many opposing teams who underestimate the Kumuls.

Former Canterbury Bulldog Rhyse Martin returns to the squad after a year with the Leeds Rhinos in the United Kingdom. There are several young names to watch in Australia, including North Queensland’s Daniel Russell and Storm center Justin Olam.

Those who have followed the Queensland Cup may be familiar with the name Edene Gebbie. South Sydney’s future star fullback will be looking to make his mark in the yellow and red, so don’t be surprised if PNG pushes a few teams to the limit.


New Zealand’s

  • Winner of the tournament: $4.00
  • To qualify for the Grand Final: $1.80

Two teams from Group A are eligible to advance to the finals, which is good news for the Kiwis, who have the tournament’s second-most talented team.

The backbone of the 16 is made up of experienced heads like Shaun Johnson and Ken Maumalo, while Kodi Nikorima, Dylan Brown, and Charnze-Nicoll Klokstad bring plenty of playmaking ability.

Top class finishers like Jamayne Isaako and Reimis Smith make the Kiwis Australia’s best chance of an outright victory, and the Grand Final wouldn’t be the same without them.

NOW BET: New Zealand to Win


  • The tournament winner received $101.
  • To reach the Grand Finale: $51.00

The US has been drawn in Group A, but the Tomahawks will relish the underdog tag as they seek to gain experience against the tournament’s top dogs.

Backing the Tomahawks in any head-to-head market will be difficult, making individual performances even more compelling. Bureta Faraimo, a former Parramatta Eel, is one of the standouts after scoring 32 tries for Hull FC in 2018. Ronaldo Mulitalo, who scored five tries in eight games for the Sharks this season, is another name to keep an eye on.


Pool B


  • Winner of the tournament: $7.00
  • To qualify for the Grand Final: $2.20

The Wall of White are the clear favourites to win Pool B, with head coach Wayne Bennett hoping his young team can compete with Australia and New Zealand.

The English 16 is led by Dragons captain James Graham and veteran playmaker Gareth Widdop, with names like Blake Austin and future Canberra Raider George Williams providing plenty of athleticism on the attack.

Nothing comes easy in a World Cup, but England has by far the best draw. Don’t overlook Ash Handley if you’re looking for Anytime Try Scorers. This season, the big winger scored 22 goals in 29 games for Leeds.

NOW BET: England to Win


  • The tournament winner received $41.00.
  • To qualify for the Grand Finale: $13.00

The French squad is almost entirely made up of local and Super League talent, making it difficult to predict how France will perform.

Pool B is really England’s to lose, but the French team has enough experience to challenge the Poms. Eight players played in the European Championship Tests against Wales last year, so don’t be surprised if France pulls off an upset.

NOW BET: France to Win


  • The tournament winner received $101.
  • To reach the Grand Finale: $51.00

Lebanon would have preferred to have Robbie Farrah and Tim Mannah available this weekend, but with both opting for retirement, the serious underdogs will have to rely heavily on Reece and Travis Robinson.

Mitch Moses will also not play for Lebanon, leaving the 16 looking relatively short on talent.

The Cedars are missing the majority of their NRL playmakers, so the visitors could be in for a long weekend.

NOW BET: Lebanon to Win


  • The tournament winner received $81.00.
  • To reach the Grand Finale: $31.00

Wales’ squad is stacked with international talent, with winger Regan Grace looking to continue his ascension.

The 22-year-old was instrumental in St Helens’ Super League grand final victory last week, and his 22 tries in 33 games isn’t bad either.

Wales will need all the help they can get in a difficult Pool B. Victories over France and Lebanon will be critical, while the visitors will also need an English loss to improve their chances.

NOW BET: Wales to Win

Pool C

The Cook Islands

  • The tournament winner received $67.00.
  • To reach the Grand Finale: $31.00

The Cook Islands will need a massive upset against either Fiji, Samoa, or Tonga to advance, but with some NRL talent in the squad, they’ll be optimistic.

Brad Takairangi, the Eels’ utility man, is the man to watch. His versatility will come in handy all over the field, and Dragons winger Steven Marsters could also have a big game.

However, the majority of the Kukis 16 are part-timers, making this nothing more than a learning experience for a very young side.

NOW BET: Cook Islands to Win


  • $15.00 to the tournament winner
  • To Enter the Grand Finale: $10.00

Maika Sivo, the NRL’s leading try-scorer, leads the heart of Fiji’s 16, along with Suliasi Vunivalu and Waqa Blake, and each will be heavily relied on against Tonga on Saturday.

This is by far one of the toughest pools in the tournament, but Fiji can still advance. The Bati have speed on their side, and even though the depth is shallow, Fiji’s heart and “chip on the shoulder” mentality could easily carry them far.

There are also plenty of Fijian prospects to keep an eye on this weekend, so keep an eye on Isaac Lumelume. The outside back joined the Storm midway through the season and will be eager to impress.

NOW BET: Fiji to Win


  • $15.00 to the tournament winner
  • To qualify for the Grand Finale: $5.50

Samoa’s wingers, including Brian To’o, Jorge Taufua, and David Nofoaluma, are a force to be reckoned with.

Experienced middleman Michael Chee-Kam is one of the team’s most dependable play-callers, and Panthers’ Jarome Luai will also be looking to make a name for himself.

NOW BET: Samoa to Win


  • Winner of the tournament: $13.00
  • To qualify for the Grand Finale: $5.50

Tonga is by far the most intriguing underdog in this year’s World Cup.

The Mate Ma’a could unravel in a difficult pool, but on talent alone, this is one of the top sides capable of derailing Australia or New Zealand’s Grand Final hopes.

Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita lead the way, followed by a dangerous forward pack led by Joe Ofahengaue and Tevita Pangai Jr. On the wing, Robert Jennings and Sione Katoa should pose a challenge to even the best defensive teams, implying that points will be scored frequently and early.

NOW BET: Tonga to Win

Best Bets for World Cup 9

  • Australia will win at $1.80.
  • Tonga to Reach the Grand Final at $5.50

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