After strong showings in round one, the West Tigers host the New Zealand Warriors in the last clash of round two.
Team Form Guide
In trying weather conditions, Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall lead the Tigers to a dominant 20-6 win over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.
Despite the scoreline, there is still plenty of work to be done for the home side with 13 unforced errors the lowlight of their performance; improving this will be vital to defeating New Zealand.
New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors cruised to a 40-6 victory over the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in round one.
Lead by veteran Blake Green, the Warriors put on an attacking masterclass; with the poor quality of their first round opposition, this match against the Tigers is the true indicator of how the Warriors will perform in 2019.
The Tigers are unchanged from the 17 that defeated the Sea Eagles, with the only possible change being the returning Moses Mbye who was named in the reserves.
Wests Tigers 21-Man Squad: 1. Corey Thompson, 2. Mahe Fonua, 3. Paul Momirovski, 4. Esan Marsters, 5. Robert Jennings, 6. Benji Marshall, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. Ben Matulino, 9. Robbie Farah, 10. Alex Twal, 11. Ryan Matterson, 12. Luke Garner, 13. Elijah Taylor, 14. Russell Packer, 15. Thomas Mikaele, 16. Josh Aloiai, 17. Michael Chee-Kam, 18. Moses Mbye, 19. Josh Reynolds, 20. Matthew Eisenhuth, 21. Chris McQueen
New Zealand Warriors
Isaiah Papali’i returns from suspension, taking Blake Ayshford’s position on the bench.
Issac Luke has been named in the reserves and could be named in place of Nathaniel Roache if he is deemed fit enough to play before the final 17 is announced on Sunday.
New Zealand Warriors 21-Man Squad: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. David Fusitua, 3. Peta Hiku, 4. Solomone Kata, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Adam Keighran, 7. Blake Green, 8. Agnatius Paasi, 9. Nathaniel Roache, 10. Bunty Afoa, 11. Adam Blair, 12. Tohu Harris, 13. Lachlan Burr, 14. Jazz Tevaga, 15. Sam Lisone, 16. Leeson Ah Mau, 17. Isaiah Papali’i, 18. Gerard Beale, 20. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 22. Issac Luke, 23. Ligi Sao
Head to Head
Results between these sides are neck-and-neck with the Tigers just having a nose in front (winning 51% of the time); the home side also has the edge over the Warriors when playing at Campbelltown Stadium, winning 66% of the matches played there.
Played: 29, Wests Tigers 15, Warriors 14.
Latest Results: Warriors 26-16 in 2019 trial, Warriors 26-4 round nine 2018 season.
At Campbell Stadium: Played 6, Wests Tigers 4, Warriors 2.
Both sides relied heavily on the veteran halves in round one with Green orchestrating New Zealand’s win with pinpoint accurate kicks. He looks to be relishing being the main focus in the halves for the first time in his career.
Marshall rewound the clock and put on a kicking clinic in round one, playing smart football in horrible conditions; what he has lost in pace he has gained in league IQ and he may be the edge the Tigers need in this battle.
Both sides need repeat performances from their experienced playmakers and whichever player gains the upper hand makes the road to victory that much easier for their team.
The Important Details
Date: Sunday, March 24
Venue: Campbelltown Stadium
Kick-Off: 6:10 PM (8:10 PM NZ time)
Who Will Win?
With both sides having large forward packs, the path to victory will be paved by the team that can gain the upper hand up front.
The Warriors have the edge here, and the platform the forwards will provide their lethal backline will be too much for the Tigers to contain.
Warriors by 12