HEAD TO HEAD: Played 24 - Penrith 14, Wests Tigers 10


AT CENTREBET STADIUM: Played 12 Penrith 8, Wests Tigers 4


LAST TIME: Round 2, 2013 - Wests Tigers 28 defeated Penrith 18 at Campbelltown Sports Stadium


BIGGEST WINS:

Wests Tigers 30 defeated Penrith 0 (2012)

Penrith 44 defeated Wests Tigers 10 (2001)



Ben Murdoch-Masila v Sika Manu


While Ben Murdoch-Masila and Sika Manu were teammates earlier in the year while representing Tonga, they will go head-to-head this Sunday in a must-win match for both teams at Centrebet Stadium.


Murdoch-Masila missed the Wests Tigers last start win over the Cowboys but moves into the starting line-up this week with injuries to Liam Fulton and Bodene Thompson. Look out for a big game from the powerful back-rower as he looks to impress Coach Mick Potter and secure a spot in the starting side.


Manu scored two tries against the Wests Tigers in Round 2 and has been impressive since making the move from Melbourne for this season. With a similar style to Murdoch-Masila, Manu often troubles the defence and is a hard man to bring down. While the Wellington-born forward has represented New Zealand 14 times, he has pledged his allegiance to Tonga for this years World Cup and will no doubt be a key member of the squad.


Benji Marshall v Isaac John


On paper it looks like a case of master versus apprentice. However the form of Panthers mid-season recruit Isaac John in recent weeks suggests otherwise. Coming up against Benji Marshall will be a big test for the 24 year-old though, with just three games under his belt since returning from England.


Marshall takes over the captaincy this week following the loss of Robbie Farah to a fractured cheekbone. Wests Tigers will field a very young side and will look to the leadership of senior players including Marshall, Braith Anasta and Adam Blair. After returning from injury four weeks ago, Marshall looked to have found his feet in the win against the Cowboys. Taking on the goal-kicking duties again in the 22-20 victory, Marshall also scored a try and took the line on in a solid performance.


Yet to lose a game since moving to the NRL from Wakefield, John has been a sensation leading the Panthers to three straight wins. Partnering Luke Walsh in the halves, John forms a lethal combination with both players having a dangerous kicking game. Scoring a hat-trick against his former club New Zealand in a 62-6 romp, look out for the Junior Kiwi representative to make his mark again at Centrebet Stadium.


Adam Blair v Tim Grant


Two forwards with a point to prove go up against one another this week in what is shaping to be an entertaining encounter. The performances of both Adam Blair and Tim Grant will weigh heavily on the outcome of Sundays match.


Blair had arguably his best game of 2013 against the Cowboys after Coach Mick Potter moved the former New Zealand International from the back-row to prop. Making 37 tackles with no misses, combined with ten hit-ups for 85 metres, Blair proved crucial in the Wests Tigers victory at Leichhardt Oval. Blair will need to feature heavily again this week if the Wests Tigers are to leave Centrebet Stadium with the much-needed two points.


Panthers hard-man Grant would consider himself unlucky on missing a spot in the NSW side after playing two games in the 2012 Origin series. Grant has been in impressive form again this year, averaging 32 tackles and 143 metres each game. With Andrew Fifita and Trent Merrin getting the nod ahead of the St Marys junior, Grant will be eager to win back his spot with a big performance against the Wests Tigers pack.