Brendan Wood previews the clash between the Wests Tigers and the Sydney Roosters on Saturday afternoon. This is what we have to look forward to.
The Tigers are coming off a dramatic 29-28 win over the cellar dwelling Bulldogs last week. Luke Brooks kicked the winning field goal with under two minutes remaining to secure the crucial win. In the week prior they were hammered 44-4 by the Knights in Newcastle. They currently sit outside the top eight in 9th position.
The Roosters were beaten comfortably by the Storm 24-6 last week as their injury toll continues to rise. They lost Mitchell Aubusson, Lachlan Lam and Luke Keary to injury during the game. In the week prior they secured a tough 24-16 win over a much improved Dragons side in Wollongong. They currently sit in 4th position, equal on 18 competition points with the Raiders.
1. Adam Doueihi 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Joseph Leilua 4. Moses Mbye 5. Tommy Talau 6. Luke Brooks 7. Benji Marshall 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Russell Packer 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Matt Eisenhuth Bench: 14. Sam McIntyre 15. Elijah Taylor 16. Josh Reynolds 17. Alex Seyfarth Reserves: 18. Alex Twal 19. Thomas Mikaele 20. Chris Lawrence 21. Asu Kepaoa.
The Tigers have named an unchanged 17 after their win over the Bulldogs last week. Alex Twal and Thomas Mikaele have been named in the reserves as they near return from injury.
1. James Tedesco 2. Matt Ikuvalu 3. Josh Morris 4. Joseph Manu 5. Brett Morris 6. Drew Hutchison 7. Kyle Flanagan 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Sitili Tupouniua 12. Nat Butcher 13. Isaac Liu Bench: 14. Freddy Lussick 15. Poasa Faamausili 16. Daniel Fifita 17. Lindsay Collins Reserves: 18. Egan Butcher 19. Ryan Hall 20. Max Bailey 21. Sam Walker.
Good news for the injury decimated Roosters with Brett Morris and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves named to return from injury. They have a new halves pairing with Kyle Flanagan earning a recall at halfback and Drew Hutchison starting at five-eighth. Freddy Lussick comes onto the bench.
Since 1998, these sides have met on 34 occasions. The Roosters have been dominant over the Tigers in that period, winning 25 of the 34 games played between the two sides.
This game features the two players with the most tackles busts in the competition, David Nofoaluma (90) and James Tedesco (85).
BATTLE TO WATCH
James Tedesco vs Adam Doueihi.
Former Tigers fullback Tedesco returns to the ground he once called home in Leichhardt Oval, against the man who now wears the number 1 jersey for the Tigers in Doueihi.
Since joining the Roosters, Tedesco’s career has gone forward in leaps and bounds. He is considered by many to be the best fullback and arguably the best player in the game today.
With the Roosters in the midst of an injury crisis, they will be relying on Tedesco to generate plenty of chances for scoring in attack, especially with a new look halves pairing of Kyle Flanagan and Drew Hutchison leading the team.
Although Adam Doueihi is not on the same level as Tedesco, he has proven to be one of the safer fullbacks in the game, rarely making an error under the high ball.
He has also given the Tigers an extra point of attack to work with, as he developed a kicking game and ball skills playing in the halves and centres throughout his career at the Rabbitohs. He’ll need to be at the top of his game if he is to outplay Tedesco and help the Tigers win.
The return of Brett Morris, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Kyle Flanagan are all huge boosts for the Roosters and should mean they are still dangerous. The Tigers would’ve gained plenty of confidence from a win at the death over the Bulldogs last week, but they will have to be much better to cause an upset over the defending premiers. Look for the Roosters to bounce back and spoil the Tigers return to Leichhardt Oval.
Roosters by two.
Date: 22 August 2020
Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney