Wests Tigers v Parramatta Eels
HEAD TO HEAD: Played 27 - Parramatta 15, Wests Tigers 11, Drawn 1.
AT PARRAMATTA STADIUM: Played 13 - Parramatta 8, Wests Tigers 5
LAST TIME: 2013 - Wests Tigers 31 defeated Parramatta 18 at Leichhardt Oval
BIGGEST HEAD TO HEAD WINS:
Wests Tigers 33 defeated Parramatta 6 at Leichhardt Oval, 2004
Parramatta 66 defeated Wests Tigers 12 at Leichhardt Oval, 2001
Keith Galloway v Tim Mannah
What a match-up this shapes to be with experienced props Keith Galloway and Tim Mannah coming up against one another at Parramatta Stadium. Both key members of their respective forward packs; its a question of who will win the battle of the metre-makers.
Just two games back from a pectoral injury suffered in Round 2, Galloway will be eager to get the Wests Tigers on the front foot against Parramatta. The 194cm giant made his return to the starting side last week against the Titans, making 94 metres and 23 tackles in the 36-6 loss. Re-signing for another three years earlier this season, Galloway will need to step up following Aaron Woods season ending injury. With the addition of Robbie Farah and Chris Lawrence to the casualty ward, the young Wests Tigers side will look to senior members such as Galloway for leadership this Friday night.
Mannah has had another solid season this year, averaging an impressive 125 metres per game. Playing 116 NRL games since making his debut in 2009, Mannah has become a key member of the Parramatta forward pack in just his fifth year of first grade. Part of the leadership group in 2013, the former NSW prop will combine with Fuifui Moimoi in the Eels engine room. Mannah not only is Parramattas key metre-maker, but ranks highly in defence, with 27 tackles per match this season.
Marika Koroibete v Ken Sio
Look out for plenty of action down the flank of Marika Koroibete and Ken Sio this Friday night, with both wingers known for their attacking capabilities. This match-up is sure to be a thriller between two of the NRLs speedsters.
Koroibete will play his first NRL match since recovering from a dislocated elbow suffered in Round 13. After appearing in NSW Cup a fortnight ago and travelling to the Gold Coast as 18th man, an injury to Chris Lawrence opens the door for the Fijian to return. With fellow excitement machine Tim Simona moving into the centres, the pair will form an exciting left side combination. Despite playing just eight games in 2013, Koroibete has averaged over 100 metres per game and made 26 tackle busts. Look out for Koroibetes combination with playmaker Benji Marshall to feature heavily in the clash with Parramatta.
Sio has faced the Wests Tigers twice in his 40-game career and has lost on both occasions. With seven tries and eight line-breaks this season, Sio has been impressive despite Parramatta sitting in last place. However, Sio has not crossed the line since Round 15 against Souths, in which he scored a double. As all good wingers should, Sio averages over 100 metres per game. Luke Kelly returning at halfback is a boost for the Eels kicking game, so look out for Sio to be a target of a few cross-field kicks.
Sauaso Sue v Darcy Lussick
A bruising encounter - Thats the only way to describe this clash as Wests Tigers rookie Sauaso Sue faces off with Eels enforcer Darcy Lussick.
Sue is one of several boom Wests Tigers rookies to emerge in 2013, with the solid forward making the leap from Under 20s to NRL this season. After making his NRL debut off the bench in Round 6, it took just three games to work his way into the starting line-up. Finding a home at the back of the scrum, Sue has made a name for himself as somewhat of a workhorse. Making 33 tackles in just 43 minutes last week against the Titans, lookout for another big game from Sue as he faces a desperate Parramatta side.
A fierce competitor, Lussick made the move from Manly to the Eels for the 2013 season. A giant of the Eels pack, Lussick weighs in at 110kg and stands at 192cm tall. When you look at the statistics, Lussick has been fairly quiet over the past three weeks averaging just 68 metres per game (season average of 91 metres per game). Forming an imposing Eels pack with Moimoi and Mannah up front, the match-up with Sue will no doubt end with a few battered bodies between both teams.