With the Tigers riding a wave of momentum after their victory over the Warriors, they’ll be looking at continuing to start their season strong with back to back victories against a new look Sea Eagles outfit that received a rude awakening to their season courtesy of the Bulldogs.

Last Time Out

The two teams couldn’t have had more of a contrasting round 1 outing. The team with zero expectations stunned their opposition and the team with the high expectations floundered. An unfancied Tigers team raced out to a 28-4 lead at half-time, holding off a fast finishing Warriors to prevail 34-26, while a heavily hyped Sea Eagles found themselves down 22-0 at half-time, on their way to a comprehensive 28-6 defeat.

The Sea Eagles were dominated by the Dogs forwards and their completion rate was dire, 30/40 completed sets and committing 13 errors. A spirited effort from Tom Trbojevic in his first NRL game at fullback provided some spark but wasn’t enough to inspire the team. Their defeat has Trent Barrett seemingly hitting the panic button prematurely making significant changes and positional switches to the side with Martin Taupau shifting to the edges, Jake Trbojevic moving to Lock and recalling prop forwards Brenton Lawrence and Josh Starling whilst dropping Blake Leary and Darcy Lussick to NSW Cup.

On the other hand the Tigers had a field day out at Campbelltown Stadium, scoring 4 tries within the first 30 minutes including an early try of the year contender to James Tedesco. They were highly energized and shifted the ball constantly even on their own goal-line. The only changes made to their winning Round 1 team is Luke Brooks returns for Jack Littlejohn and Dene Halatau returns from suspension at Hooker pushing Jack Buchanan off the bench.

Key Battle

The key match-up in this encounter will come in the halves. Daly Cherry-Evans wasn’t given much room to work with last week whereas Mitchell Moses produced the best game of his short career, with some classy touches that produced two tries and steered his team around the park well. Their efforts this week will go a long way towards securing a win for their team.

If the Sea Eagles are to win DCE will have to stamp his authority on the game and really take control of proceedings. There’s little he could have done to change the result of their last game but he wasn’t demanding the ball and shared a fair amount of the kicking duties with Dylan Walker. It felt like mandatory sharing as opposed to a deliberate tactical decision and an attempt to make more of a playmaker out of Walker than he really was and so this week DCE needs to step up and lead his team around. The Tigers play a far less grinding style of football than the Bulldogs do and so there’ll be more space for him to wonder and create opportunities.

For Moses he’ll get a chance to renew his combination with Brooks which eases the amount of responsibility put on him and so all he needs to do is just carry on with his good form and maintain his impressive and improved level of maturity.

Prediction

The Sea Eagles will obviously be looking to atone for a disappointing effort last week but first they’ll need to fix their shocking error rate. I think a more free-flowing style of game will really suit Tom Trbojevic and DCE so it should see the Sea Eagles score a fair few more points.

However the Tigers backline, in particular the trio of Tedesco, Moses and Brooks are far more settled and in sync with each other. So long as their forwards make the metres and give them the chance to make something happen they should have the edge over a Sea Eagles team that’s playing a merry-go-round forward pack.

The fact the Tigers almost gave up a 24 point lead to the Warriors is concerning but if they get off to another fast start they shouldn’t let their lead slip. Tigers by 10

Squads

Wests Tigers
1 James Tedesco
2 David Nofoaluma
3 Tim Simona
4 Kevin Naiqama
5 Jordan Rankin
6 Mitchell Moses
7 Luke Brooks
8 Aaron Woods (c)
9 Dene Halatau
10 Tim Grant
11 Curtis Sironen
12 Chris Lawrence
13 Sauaso Sue
Interchange
14 Kyle Lovett
15 Josh Aloiai
16 Ava Seumanufagai
17 Manaia Cherrington
18 Michael Chee Kam

Sea Eagles
1 Tom Trbojevic
2 Jorge Taufua
3 Jamie Lyon (c)
4 Steve Matai
5 Brayden Wiliame
6 Dylan Walker
7 Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Josh Starling
9 Apisai Koroisau
10 Nate Myles
11 Lewis Brown
12 Martin Taupau
13 Jake Trbojevic
Interchange
14 Matt Parcell
15 Nathan Green
16 Brenton Lawrence
17 Siosaia Vave