Brad Inger previews the round sixteen clash between the Warriors and the Tigers in the first NRL game on New Zealand soil since 2019. Here’s what we have to look forward to.
New Zealand Warriors vs Wests Tigers
Venue: Mount Smart Stadium
Date: Sunday July 3, 2:00pm (4:00pm NZ Time)
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Warriors: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Jesse Arthars 4. Euan Aitken 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Ronald Volkman 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Jazz Tevaga 11. Jack Murchie 12. Tohu Harris 13. Josh Curran 14. Chanel Harris-Tavita 15. Bunty Afoa 16. Eliesa Katoa 17. Bayley Sironen 18. Adam Pompey 20. Aaron Pene 21. Rocco Berry 22. Freddy Lussick 23. Daejarn Asi
Euan Aitken is the only change in the starting side, returning from his concussion to the centres for the first time in the 2022 season; his inclusion sees Adam Pompey moved to the extended bench. The only other change is Eliesa Katoa joining the interchange in the place of Dunamis Lui, who has been dropped from this week’s squad.Embed from Getty Images
Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Starford To’a 4. James Roberts 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Luke Brooks 7. Jackson Hastings 8. James Tamou 9. Fa’amanu Brown 10. Zane Musgrove 11. Luke Garner 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Joe Ofahengaue 14. Stefano Utoikamanu 15. Adam Doueihi 16. Alex Seyfarth 17. Fonua Pole 18. Asu Kepaoa 19. Junior Tupou 20. Austin Dias 21. Jacob Liddle 22. Justin Matamua
James Roberts is back in the centres for the first time since round six. Fa’amanu Brown is named at hooker, seeing Jacob Liddle moving to the extended bench. Stefano Utoikamanu and Adam Doueihi have been named to play from the bench alongside Fonua Pole, who is set to debut.
Referee: Chris Sutton
The Warriors come into round 16 on a seven-match losing streak, with the last being a 40-6 thrashing to the Panthers before having a much-needed week off in the international round. The big talking point and difference is the return to Mt Smart after having to play 59 games in a row on enemy soil; playing in front of a sellout New Zealand crowd should give the struggling side the boost needed to end the losing streak.
The Tigers come into round 16 on a three-game losing streak, with the last being a 36-12 defeat against the Bulldogs. This side has struggled since the exit of Michael Maguire, and having to be the first side to travel to New Zealand will not make their campaign any easier. However, If they can give their large wingers and centres the ball in space, they should be able to expose the Warrior’s edges, and the points will come.
Both sides are at rock bottom and are out of the playoff hunt, battling to avoid the Wooden Spoon, so this is a must-win match and should lead to an exciting matchup despite their positions on the ladder. The atmosphere at the Stadium will be electric, and the Warriors will want to send their fans home happy with a win; however, they cannot underestimate their opponents, who are desperate to earn back their pride.Embed from Getty Images
In the 34 clashes between these sides, the Warriors have a slight advantage with 18 victories to the Tigers 16. The New Zealand side is currently on a four-game winning streak against the Tigers, with the last match being their 16-12 win in round three this season. Mt Smart hasn’t been kind to the Tigers, with the visitors only winning six of their thirteen appearances at the venue.
Warriors by 12
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