NRL Match Preview: Key match-ups v Roosters
Wests Tigers v Sydney Roosters
HEAD TO HEAD: Played 22 - Wests Tigers 8, Sydney 14
AT ALLIANZ STADIUM: Played 11 - Wests Tigers 3, Sydney 8
LAST TIME: 2012 - Sydney Roosters 44 defeated Wests Tigers 20 at Allianz Stadium
BIGGEST HEAD TO HEAD WINS:
Wests Tigers 40 defeated Sydney Roosters 24 at Allianz Stadium, 2009.
Sydney Roosters 56 defeated Wests Tigers 0 at Campbelltown Sports Stadium, 2004.
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Keith Galloway v Jared Warea-Hargreaves
The battle up front this week features two big boppers with both Keith Galloway and Jared Warea-Hargreaves standing at over 1.9 metres tall.
Since returning from a pectoral tear three weeks ago, Galloway has made his presence felt with impressive metres from the former NSW prop. After the loss of Aaron Woods for the remainder of the season, Galloway along with young forwards Ava Seumanufagai and Jack Buchanan have stepped up to fill the void. While the side suffered a disappointing loss to Parramatta last week, Galloway was on the park for a whopping 68 minutes. Its no wonder he carried the ball for an impressive 160 metres from 16 hit-ups.
With the loss of Boyd Cordner and Martin Kennedy to injury, Warea-Hargreaves will this week need to step up and lead the Roosters pack. The New Zealand International has had a stellar 2013 season, averaging 124 metres per game and making 21 offloads in 15 appearances. One of four Roosters co-captains, Warea-Hargreaves is just as impressive in defence, averaging 30 tackles per match. In Round 19 against Cronulla, the 24-year-old racked up 211 metres from 18 hit-ups in a standout display.
Adam Blair v Sam Moa
Supporters from both sides will be looking forward to this battle as Adam Blair comes up against Sam Moa. When it comes to big hits look no further than these two, with bone-rattling defence a key element of both players game.
After starting the year as a wide-running back-rower, Blairs move to front-row has seen the Kiwi International hit a purple-patch of form. Blair and Jack Buchanan are the only Wests Tigers players to have played every match in 2013, highlighting the crippling injury toll suffered at the club. Blair will be hoping his recent run of form will result in a recall to the New Zealand Test team, who will look to defend their World Cup crown later in the year.
Moa comes against his former team for surprisingly the second time in his short NRL career. The Tongan international made his debut against the Wests Tigers back in 2008 for the Cronulla Sharks after playing lower grades at the joint venture. After playing just the one NRL game, Moa moved to Hull FC and made a name for himself in the Super League competition over a three-year stint. Playing 16 games so far this season in a successful return to the NRL, Moa has been in and out of the starting side throughout the year.
Ben Murdoch-Masila v Sonny Bill Williams
The abbreviation showdown of BMM v SBW is one not to be missed. The up and coming Ben Murdoch-Masila faces off with crowd favourite Sonny Bill Williams this Monday at Allianz Stadium.
Murdoch-Masila individually had his best game of 2013 last week against Parramatta, playing the full 80 minutes and making four offloads. Murdoch-Masila took out the supporters-voted "Krispy Kreme Man of the Match last week as the top performer in the Wests Tigers side. An injury in the warm-up to Bodene Thompson saw the Tongan representative start the match, with Sauaso Sue being taken from the field early resulting in him playing the full game. At just 22 years old, Murdoch-Masila is closing in on 50 NRL games after missing just the one game this season.
Williams has lived up to the hype surrounding his return to the NRL this year, with impressive statistics and a rise to the top of the ladder by the Roosters. Renown for his offload, Williams has not disappointed this season tallying up 40 (average of 2.4 per game). Making a return from a two-match shoulder charge suspension this week, Williams has made ten line-breaks and crossed the line seven times in 2013. With 46 tackle busts in 2013 and the ability to throw pin-point cut-out passes, Williams will obviously need to be watched closely by the Wests Tigers defence.
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