Wests were poor last week as they failed to score a try in defeat at Penrith. The Tigers took a seventh-minute lead through Esan Marsters’ penalty goal but they were kept scoreless from that point on as Penrith were comfortable 16-2 winners.
Ivan Cleary has a full squad to pick from with the return of Josh Reynolds. He comes onto the bench in place of Chris McQueen. Mahe Fonua also returns after being dropped for disciplinary reasons last week with Keven Naiqama dropping out. Tui Lolohea comes back into the side at fullback with Corey Thompson reverting to the wing meaning Malakai Watene-Zelezniak is dropped.
Wests have won just once in their last five games which has resulted in a shake-up of their 17. After 11 errors last week and failing to score a try, numerous changes have been made as the Tigers look to recapture their early season form.
Head Coach: Dean Pay
Starting 13: Mbye, B. Morris, Olive, Hopoate, Montoya, Frawley, Foran, Woods, Marshall-King, Klemmer, Jackson, Faitala-Mariner, Martin – Interchanges: Elliott, Priest, Toomaga, Holland – Reserves: Eastwood, Smith, Fine, Lichaa
Unavailable: Tom Carr, Aiden Tolman, Danny Fualalo, Josh Morris
Canterbury couldn’t build on their win over Parramatta as they fell to defeat against Cronulla last week. The Bulldogs didn’t quite have enough to beat an in-form Sharks side with them not quite doing enough as they were on the wrong side of a 22-16 scoreline.
Josh Morris will sit out the next eight weeks with a knee injury meaning John Olive comes into the side in the centres. Asipele Fine drops to the reserves, making way for the returning Raymond Faitala-Mariner who starts in the back-row with Adam Elliott dropping to the bench.
The Bulldogs couldn’t take advantage of making 6.1m per set on average more than the Sharks as they fell to a narrow defeat. Canterbury competed well but just lacked the quality with ball-in-hand to be able to claim the two points.
Wests and Canterbury head into this game with the same record over the last six games with them both having won two and lost four whilst those results have also occurred in the same sequence. They’re both short of form and will be targeting this game to try and build some momentum in terms of their performance. Wests’ early season form has allowed them to be well in the mix for a top 8 spot whilst Canterbury are struggling near the foot of the table. This game could go either way on recent form but the changes that the Tigers have made throughout their side could be crucial and they can find the win here.
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