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CrownBet Match Preview: Round 9

Wests Tigers will look to continue their strong form under Coach Ivan Cleary when they take on defending premiers Cronulla Sharks this Saturday at Leichhardt Oval.

Since Cleary was appointed Head Coach in Round 6, the team has upset both the North Queensland Cowboys and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, with the sole loss coming against the Parramatta Eels in Round 7 — a game they led 22-10 late in the second half.

Sunday’s win over the Bulldogs again came in tight fashion, with a Luke Brooks kick finding Kevin Naiqama in the final minutes to secure a six-point win for Wests Tigers.

Brooks’ return to the side was a welcome one, with he and Mitchell Moses combining well to produce more kick metres on the night than any other game in season 2017.

In a further boost for Wests Tigers, big men Tim Grant and Ava Seumanufagai have both been named for the match despite picking up worrying knocks against the Bulldogs.

With their title defence off to a strong start in 2017, Cronulla had a small blip on Saturday night when two tries in the last 10 minutes saw the Gold Coast Titans steal victory at the former Shark Park — ending the Sharks’ four-game winning streak.

Cronulla will welcome back the experience of Luke Lewis in this week’s team to face Wests Tigers, but will be without key bench forward Jayson Bukuya, who is out with a foot injury.

It’ll be somewhat of a rare night game for the Leichhardt Oval faithful, with the majority of the Club’s games at the venue played on a Friday night. Having said that, however, the ground will no doubt prove tough for Sharks players on the night, with history showing the Sharks haven’t won at the venue since 2008 and just twice overall from their seven encounters.

In terms of milestones, Wests Tigers forward Chris Lawrence will be honoured for his 200th game after achieving the feat in Round 6, while Sharks forward Andrew Fifita plays his 150th.

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MATCH DETAILS

Date — Saturday, April 29, 2017

Time — 7:30pm AEST

Venue — Leichhardt Oval, Sydney

 

TV, LIVE STREAM AND RADIO INFORMATION

TV — Live via Fox Sports League (Ch.502, subscription required)

Radio — AM 702 ABC Grandstand, AM 2GB 873

Live Stream — NRL Digital Pass, Foxtel Go (subscription required)

 

LATEST CROWNBET ODDS

Head to Head — Wests Tigers $2.65, Cronulla Sharks $1.50

Line — Wests Tigers (+6.0) $1.92, Cronulla Sharks (-6.0) $1.92

Total Points — Over 39.5 $1.80, Under 39.5 $2.00

Latest odds via Crownbet.com.au (18+ only, gamble responsibly).

(Odds correct as of Wednesday, April 26 at 7:00pm AEST)

 

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referees — Ben Cummins and Adam Gee

Touch Judges — Rohan Best and Tim Roby

Review Officials — Steve Chiddy and Luke Patten

 

CONFIRMED SQUADS

Wests Tigers
1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Michael Chee Kam 4. Moses Suli 5. Kevin Naiaqma 6. Mitchell Moses 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods 9. Matt McIlwrick 10. Ava Seumanufagai 11. Joel Edwards 12. Chris Lawrence 13. Elijah Taylor (Interchange: 14. Tim Grant 15. Sauaso Sue 16. Josh Aloiai 17. Jacob Liddle 18. JJ Felise 19. Kyle Lovett 20. Justin Hunt 21. Jack Littlejohn).
 

Cronulla Sharks
1. Valentine Holmes 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Jack Bird 4. Ricky Leutele 5. Gerard Beale 6. James Maloney 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11.  Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen (Interchange 14.  Kurt Capewell 15. Chris Heighington 16.  Jeremy Latimore 17. Joseph Paulo 18. Tony Williams 19. Sam Tagataese 20. Edrick Lee 21. Fa’amanu Brown).
 

Wests Tigers and the Sharks have both named 21-man squads for the contest, with two players to be omitted from each team 24 hours before kickoff (7:30pm, Friday) and a further two players to be omitted one hour before kickoff (6:30pm, Saturday).

 

RECENT RESULTS

Wests Tigers

Round 4 — Melbourne Storm 22 def. Wests Tigers 14

Round 5 — St. George-Illawarra Dragons 28 def. Wests Tigers 6

Round 6 — Wests Tigers 26 def. North Queensland Cowboys 16

Round 7 — Parramatta Eels 26 def. Wests Tigers 22

Round 8 — Wests Tigers 18 def. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12
 

Cronulla Sharks

Round 4 — Cronulla Sharks 20 def. Parramatta Eels 6

Round 5 — Cronulla Sharks 19 def. Newcastle Knights 18

Round 6 — Cronulla Sharks 11 def. Melbourne Storm 2

Round 7 — Cronulla Sharks 28 def. Penrith Panthers 2

Round 8 — Gold Coast Titans 16 def. Cronulla Sharks 12

 

THE HISTORY

·       Head to Head — Played 27, Wests Tigers 17, Cronulla 9, Drawn 1

·       At Leichhardt Oval — Played 7, Wests Tigers 5, Cronulla 2

·       Last Time They Met — Cronulla Sharks 34 def. Wests Tigers 26 (Rd.5, 2016)

 

TEAM MATCHUP

 

Wests Tigers

Cronulla Sharks

Position

13th (6 points)

4th (10 points)

Home Form

Won 1, Lost 3

Won 1, Lost 3

Away Form

Won 2, Lost 2

Won 4, Lost 0

Points Scored

128 points (14th)

160 points (6th)

Points Conceded

204 points (14th)

102 points (2nd)

 

THREE FINAL FACTS

·       Wests Tigers have won four of their last five against the Sharks at Leichhardt Oval.

·       David Nofoaluma has scored two tries in his past three games against the Sharks.

·       Cronulla Sharks have won five of their past six away games.
 

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