Tim Simona v Dylan Walker
After failing to return to the field in the second half of Round 11 with an ankle injury, Tim Simona has been named to make his return this week. His partnership with Pat Richards on the left edge was a successful one earlier this year, with Richards crossing for eight tries in as many games while Simona was on the field.
Dylan Walker looks to be on the verge of a NSW Origin debut this year, with it suggested he could join the Blues camp following tonight’s game. Walker scored a double in the Round 3 match between the two sides, before leaving the field injured late in the match.
The battle between these two livewire centres is close to the top of the list of highlights in tonight's encounter. Walker has won all three past clashes against Simona, however he will form a new partnership on the edge with 18-year-old rookie winger John Olive.
Career Head-to-Head clashes: Played 3 – Simona 0, Walker 3
NRL Fantasy Prices: Simona $286,000 (Season: +$37,000; Average: 34.7), Walker $287,000 (Season: -$99,000; Average: 37.2)
Ava Seumanufagai v George Burgess
Ava Seumanufagai hasn’t missed a game for Wests Tigers since Round 13 last year and has played 52 of a possible 58 games since making his NRL debut in 2013. With Aaron Woods absent on NSW Orgin duties, the Wainuiomata Lions junior will be eager to fill the void.
George Burgess has dropped back to the bench in recent weeks but his game time has only slightly decreased with the move. Burgess, along with his brother Tom, David Tyrell and Tim Grant, form a quality South Sydney prop rotation.
When you compare statistics between the two, Burgess looks to be miles ahead. However, when you look at their average minutes played it shows that Seumanufagai achieves more metres and tackles per minute played. Look out for the injection of these two big boppers in tonight’s match.
Career Head-to-Head clashes: Played 5 – Seumanufagai 1, Burgess 4
NRL Fantasy Prices: Seumanufagai $215,000 (Season: +$25,000; Average: 25.5), Burgess $373,000 (Season: -$64,000; Average: 51.2)
Luke Brooks v Luke Keary
Luke Brooks has already played 34 NRL games at just 20-years-of-age and will have to make the most of that experience once again this weekend without skipper Robbie Farah at hooker. Brooks was defensively sound yet again last week, making 17 tackles without a miss.
With Adam Reynolds out in recent weeks due to injury, Luke Keary has stepped up and guided the side around the park with makeshift halves partner John Sutton. The 23-year-old has made three line-breaks in his past three matches.
Two of the games most exciting young players go head-to-head tonight with Brooks and Keary marking up against one another for just the second time at an NRL level. There’s ample opportunity for one of these two to step up tonight with three Origin stars in Farah, Woods and Greg Inglis all missing.
Career Head-to-Head clashes: Played 2 – Brooks 0, Keary 1
NRL Fantasy Prices: Brooks $290,000 (Season: +$69,000; Average: 33.8), Keary $296,000 (Season: +$82,000; Average: 35.3)