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20 Apr 2018 by TSZ

2018 NRL – Wests Tigers vs Newcastle Knights Preview

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AT A GLANCE

When? Saturday 21st April, 08:30 (UK)

Where? Scully Park

What channel is it on? UK - Sky Sports Action Australia - Foxtel, LIVE PASS

Where can I stream the match? UK - Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via Sky Go Australia - https://www.telstra.com.au/tv-...

Are tickets still available? https://sa2.seatadvisor.com/sa...

THE STATISTICS

THE LOWDOWN

TIGERS

Head Coach: Ivan Cleary

Starting 13: Thompson, Nofoaluma, Marsters, Naiqama, Watene-Zelezniak, Marshall, Brooks, Eisenhuth, Liddle, Matulino, Aloiai, Rochow, Taylor – Interchanges: Godinet, Twal, Chee Kam, Sue – Reserves: Grant, McQueen, Gamble, Lolohea

Unavailable: Russell Packer, Josh Reynolds, Chris Lawrence

  • Wests Tigers' impressive start to the season continued as they hammered Manly last weekend. The Tigers were too strong for the Sea Eagles and blew them away in the first half with them leading 0-26 at the break before completing a 12-38 victory.
  • Josh Reynolds’ move hasn’t gone to plan so far with the halfback suffering another injury on his return last week. He’s likely to be out for at least a month with a shoulder injury. Chris Lawrence is also out with a hamstring strain but Elijah Taylor makes his return after he recovered from his hamstring injury. Pita Godinet also returns to the bench.
  • Wests were strong all over the pitch last week but they stifled Manly in both attack and defence. Forcing five drop outs was one of a few reasons that the Tigers enjoyed more possession (61%) and nearly 11 minutes longer on the ball (30:21 compared to Manly’s 19:24) with them completing 82% of their 39 sets.

KNIGHTS

Head Coach: Nathan Brown

Starting 13: Ponga, Kenny-Dowall, S. Mata'utia, Ross, Sio, Cogger, Pearce, Ese’ese, Griffin, Lillyman, Fitzgibbon, Guerra, Barnett – Interchanges: Levi, Heighington, Buhrer, J. Saifiti, – Reserves: D. Saifiti, King, Yates, Dennis

Unavailable: Nick Meaney, Connor Watson, Tautau Moga

  • Newcastle were put to the sword by Melbourne last week as the Knights paid for a slow start against the reigning Premiers. The Storm went ahead inside the first minute and built on that lead soon after before running away with a 40-14 win.
  • Mitch Barnett returns at lock after serving his ban, pushing Daniel Saifiti to the reserves. Five-eighth Brock Lamb is dropped after a string of under-par performances with Jack Cogger taking his place.
  • Newcastle struggled up front last week with them only just breaching the 1,000 metre mark. They made 1,059 metres but allowed Melbourne to make 1,501 with the Knights needing a huge improvement on both sides of the ball this week.

THE PREDICTION

After six rounds of the season, Wests sit just two points from the top of the ladder after a staggering start to the season. Arguably a bigger surprise package than early league leaders St George, Wests have produced some wonderful displays to claim five wins from their six games. They now face a side that also started the season better than anyone could have anticipated but come into this game on the back of a big loss against Melbourne. The Knights will have to be much improved on last week’s effort to stop the high-riding Tigers who look capable of beating anyone at the minute and they can win their sixth game of the season here.

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