Match Preview: NSW Cup Round 23

After scoring a sensational 28-22 victory in Round 22, Wests Tigers will look to make it back-to-back wins in NSW Cup this week against the Illawarra Cutters.

Despite trailing 20-6 mid-way through the second half and missing a slew of key players, Wests Tigers were able to storm their way back to a stunning six-point win over the Warriors in their most recent match, and will no doubt take plenty of confidence from that fixture as they take on a strong Cutters’ outfit this week.

The visitors have improved markedly since their Round 1 loss to Wests Tigers at WIN Stadium, and shape up as a tough opponent to break down this week.

With both teams gunning for a finals spot and potentially vying against the other for a top-four finish, it’s looming as a blockbuster clash between the two teams this Saturday at Leichhardt Oval, and one that could well go either way.

Who will walk away with two crucial competition points in hand?

Read on for a full preview of the match including all the need-to-know game day details, team news, statistical analysis and much more.

Click here to get your tickets to Round 23 and cheer on the boys as they battle the Sydney Roosters at Leichhardt Oval on August 16.

Match Details

Date — Saturday, August 16, 2014

Time — 3:15pm (Gates Open at 3:00pm)

Venue — Leichhardt Oval, Sydney

Twitter — Click here to follow Wests Tigers on Twitter for all live scores

 

Confirmed Squads

Wests Tigers

 

Illawarra Cutters

Daniel Abou-Sleiman

1

Kyle Eather

Corey Brown

2

Yaw Kiti Glymin

Kyle Lovett

3

Junior Tia-Kilifi

Jy Hitchcox

4

Geoff Daniela

Setefano Taukafa

5

Nathan Smith

Jarred Farlow

6

Sam Duggan

Michael Stevens

7

Drew Hutchinson

Jack Buchanan

8/18

Charlie Faingaa

Joel Luani

9

Shane Pumpi

Michael Bullock

10

Rory O’Brien

Brenden Santi

11

Nathan Green

Sam Hollis

12

Chris Lewis

Inno Inosesio

13

Shannon Wakeman

Nathan Brown

14/8

Jeff Moate

Andy Fiagatusa

15

Josh Ailaomai

Andrew Vela

16

Willie Mataka

Sonny Bristow

17

Matt Groat

Luke Williams

18

 

 

Last Five Matches

Wests Tigers

R18 — Wests Tigers 42 def. North Sydney Bears 24

R19 — Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 28 def. Wests Tigers 18

R20 — Wests Tigers 30 def. North Sydney Bears 22

R21 — Newtown Jets 30 def. Wests Tigers 14

R22 — Wests Tigers 28 def. New Zealand Warriors 22

 

Illawarra Cutters

R18 — Illawarra Cutters 24 drew with Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 24

R19 — Illawarra Cutters 26 def. North Sydney Bears 16

R20 — Illawarra Cutters 44 def. Wentworthville Magpies 18

R21 — Newcastle Knights 38 def. Illawarra Cutters 16

R22 — Illawarra Cutters 42 def. Mounties RLFC 14

 

Last Time They Met

Round 1, 2014: Wests Tigers 34 def. Illawarra Cutters 14

Blake Austin was the star of the show in his debut performance for Wests Tigers — scoring three tries and setting up another — to help bring the visitors back from an early deficit. After the Cutters had raced to a 14-4 inside the opening 25 minutes, Austin would command a comeback that would leave Paul Fletcher with plenty of positives to take from the match — the biggest of which being his side’s strong defensive effort to keep the home side scoreless in the second half.

 

Player to Watch — Setefano Taukafa, Wests Tigers

Taukafa will make his return from injury this week and take his place on the right wing, where he’s been highly effective for Wests Tigers throughout the year. The winger ranks 10th in NSW Cup this year for total metres gained (2,068) and fifth in the league for tackle breaks (65). Taukafa knows his way to the line — having picked up four tries in two games against North Sydney Bears recently — and will certainly be an added threat for the home side this weekend.

 

Coach’s Comment

“We’re equal second with the Cutters and beat them in the first round — although it’s been a long time since we played them — so it should be a great game. If we go into this match like we were in the second half against the Warriors — focusing on completing our sets, keeping our error rate low and controlling where we give them the ball — we’ll be in it for a long way…” (Paul Fletcher, NSW Cup Head Coach)

 

Team Stats

 

Wests Tigers

Illawarra Cutters

Position

30 points (3rd)

30 points (2nd)

Points For

575 points (6th)

614 points (3rd)

Points Against

474 points (4th)

432 points (2nd)

Points Differential

+101 points (5th)

+182 points (2nd)

Last Five Games

Played 5: Won 3, Lost 2

Played 5: Won 4, Lost 1