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2021 NRL Round 11 Preview, Warriors Vs Tigers

Brendan Wood previews the Friday night clash between the New Zealand Warriors and the Wests Tigers. This is what we have to look forward to:

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Date: Friday May 21, Time: 6pm AEST

Warriors Team

1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
2. Marcelo Montoya
3. Adam Pompey
4. Euan Aitken
5. Ken Maumalo
6. Kodi Nikorima
7. Chanel Harris-Tavita
8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
9. Wayde Egan
10. Kane Evans
11. Jack Murchie
12. Ben Murdoch-Masila
13. Tohu Harris
14. Jazz Tevaga
15. Leeson Ah Mau
16. Bunty Afoa
17. Reece Walsh
18. Eliesa Katoa
20. Taniela Otukolo
21. Edward Kosi
22. Sean O’Sullivan

Team Changes

IN: Edward Kosi, Eliesa Katoa, Kane Evans, Marcelo Montoya, Sean O’Sullivan, Taniela Otukolo
OUT: Bayley Sironen, Josh Curran, Rocco Berry

Tigers Team

1. Daine Laurie
2. David Nofoaluma
3. Adam Doueihi
4. Joseph Leilua
5. Tommy Talau
6. Moses Mbye
7. Luke Brooks
8. James Tamou
9. Jacob Liddle
10. Alex Twal
11. Luke Garner
12. Luciano Leilua
13. Joe Ofahenghaue
14. Jock Madden
15. Shawn Blore
16. Alex Seyfarth
17. Thomas Mikaele
18. Michael Chee Kam
19. James Roberts
20. Stefano Utoikamanu
21. Tom Amone

Team Changes

IN: Jake Simpkin, Stefano Utoikamanu, Tom Amone
OUT:

Referee: Matt Noyen

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Warriors

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Big changes to the Warriors team this week with Josh Curran and Bayley Sironen ruled out through injury. They are replaced by Jack Murchie and Kane Evans in the starting side, with Ben Murdoch-Masila moving to the back row. Rocco Berry has also been ruled out with injury and is replaced by Marcelo Montoya on the wing.

The Warriors are coming off the back of a 34-18 loss to the Eels last week in Magic Round. The week prior they held a good lead over Manly at Lottoland but were run down in the second half, losing in a close one 38-32.

Tigers

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The Tigers carry an unchanged 17 into this game, with Jake Simpkin and Stefano Utoikamanu returning to the squad in the reserves.

Last week they got back into the winner’s circle with a strong 36-18 win over Newcastle in Magic Round. The week prior saw them turn in an embarrassing defensive effort as they went down to the Titans 36-28.

PREVIEW

The Warriors return to their home away from home on the Central Coast to take on a Tigers side who have found some confidence. In what is expected to be a high scoring game, the result may well hinge on who is willing to defend harder for longer. The Warriors especially have leaked 38 and 34 points in their last two starts respectively. While the Tigers haven’t been much better, a confidence building win last week could make all the difference.

Despite some injuries to the forwards this week, the return of Chanel Harris-Tevita has been a big inclusion over recent weeks and has taken the playmaking pressure off Kodi Nikorima. Exciting rookie Reece Walsh will come off the bench in this game but has certainly staked his claim for a role in the starting 13. The heir apparent to Tuivasa-Sheck, expect him to be injected later in the game when the Tigers forwards begin to fatigue. His inclusion could be the difference should the game go down to the wire.

For the Tigers, there was plenty of uproar last week around Michael Maguire’s decision to move Adam Doueihi from his preferred position of five-eighth to the centres. While many thought this move would be a disaster, Doueihi proved to be a serious threat regardless of the number he wears on his back. What might be more pleasing for coach Maguire is how well the rest of the spine reacted.

Luke Brooks played his best game of the season, running for close to 200 metres and taking the reins of the team from the opening whistle to the fulltime siren. If the Tigers are to continue their winning ways, look for more of the same from Brooks and Mbye, with Doueihi chiming into the attack regularly.

KEY STAT

The head-to-head record between these two sides is evenly split, with the Tigers holding a slight advantage, 16 wins from 31 games played. In recent times, the Tigers have the better record at Central Coast Stadium, winning four of the six games they’ve played there. David Nofoaluma plays his 150th NRL game.

PREDICTION

The Warriors are playing at home, but the Tigers come into this game with some newly acquired confidence, which should be able to carry them to another win in a close game.

Tigers by four.

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