Kevin Naiqama vs. James McManus
Having played just 27 NRL games before joining Wests Tigers at the start of the year, Kevin Naiqama has impressed playing in all nine matches for the Club this season. Coming up against the Club he made his debut for back in 2010, the Fijian International will be out for a big game against many of his former teammates on Sunday.
There’s plenty on offer this Sunday for James McManus as he looks to retain his NSW Origin jersey for the upcoming series with plenty of competition for places in the side. The Palmerston Raiders junior offers plenty of experience to the Newcastle Knights team, having scored 69 tries in 157 NRL games.
This will be Naiqama’s first NRL game against his former Club, and having played alongside McManus six times during his three years at the Knights, it makes for interesting battle on the flank at Hunter Stadium this Sunday.
Career Head-to-Head: Yet to play at an NRL level.
NRL Fantasy Prices: Naiqama $237,000 (Season: -$71,000; Average: 27.1), McManus $183,000 (Season: -$2,000; Average: 22.4)
Aaron Woods vs. Kade Snowden
With the State of Origin series opener just around the corner, incumbent New South Wales prop forward Aaron Woods will be eager to notch a win for Wests Tigers before heading into camp next week. The Leichhardt junior is averaging a staggering 204 metres per game in 2015.
Following on from a hit-out for Country Origin a fortnight ago, Kade Snowden’s ultimate goal will be to earn a return to the NSW side and coming up against Woods will be the perfect test for the former Kangaroo. Snowden last played for NSW in 2011; however he may come into consideration due to an injury to skipper Paul Gallen.
While Woods has been the arguably the standout prop of 2015, Snowden has been solid for Newcastle despite his side having a disappointing past month of football. The battle between Woods and Snowden will be no doubt be a highlight of this Sunday afternoon showdown, with a youthful Wests Tigers forward pack coming up against an experienced Knights side.
Career Head-to-Head: Played 3 — Woods 2, Snowden 1
NRL Fantasy Prices: Woods $427,000 (Season: -$14,000; Average: 54.9), Snowden $384,000 (Season: -$6,000; Average: 49.8)
Curtis Sironen vs. Beau Scott
This season marked the first time that Curtis Sironen had played an NRL season opener and the Dundas Shamrocks junior has been in strong form on the left edge so far. Sironen was rewarded for his form with his second City Origin jersey a fortnight ago and his combination with halfback Luke Brooks is improving each week.
Beau Scott was a key member of the NSW Origin side in 2014 and looks to have his place in the side all but guaranteed after sitting out the City-Country fixture this year. Scott is known for his great ability to create second-phase play, with 10 offloads in his six games this season; including three last week against Manly-Warringah.
These two players have met just once previously in their careers and that was last year’s Round 13 clash where Sironen played left the field after just a few minutes with concussion. It makes for an intriguing match-up on the edge, with both players in good form despite being at very different stages of their career.
Career Head-to-Head: Played 1 — Sironen 1, Scott 0
NRL Fantasy Prices: Sironen $235,000 (Season: -$4,000; Average: 28.3), Scott $347,000 (Season: -$6,000; Average: 42.7)