Aaron Woods v Jesse Bromwich
Aaron Woods will play his 100th NRL game tonight and the timing of his milestone couldn’t have worked out better as Wests Tigers head to Leichhardt Oval for the final time this year. The former Holy Cross Ryde student made his NRL debut back in 2011 and has achieved representative honours with both Australia and New South Wales - whilst also captaining Wests Tigers recently.
Jesse Bromwich looked to be facing a lengthy stint on the sidelines following last weekend’s match against St George Illawarra, however the New Zealand International managed to have his Dangerous Contact charge dismissed at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night. Bromwich has made over 200 metres on four occasions this season, highlighting an impressive 2015 for the 26-year-old.
Woods and Bromwich have fairly similar careers on paper, both have represented their country and played around the 100-game mark. The stage is set for a classic encounter between two of competition’s form prop forwards.
Career Head-to-Head clashes: Played 5 – Woods 2, Bromwich 3 (NRL games only)
NRL Fantasy Prices: Woods $396,000 (Season: -$30,000; Average: 52.9), Bromwich $401,000 (Season: -$43,000; Average: 51.2)
Robbie Farah v Cameron Smith
Robbie Farah returns for his first game since Round 16 against Penrith, in which he suffered a fracture in his hand and was subsequently ruled out of the Origin decider. The wealth of experience he adds will be vital as Wests Tigers look to notch up the first win of the year at Leichhardt Oval – with losses to Canberra, Gold Coast and Penrith earlier in 2015.
Woods won’t be the only player to bring up a milestone tomorrow night with Cameron Smith set to make his 200th appearance as captain of the Melbourne Storm. The Queensland and Australian rake certainly hasn’t slowed down since the State of Origin series, making over 40 tackles in seven of his last eight matches.
The rivalry between Farah and Smith is just about as big as they get. The Origin opponents have met 10 times on an NRL level, with Smith holding a strong advantage with seven wins. However, expect Farah to come out firing after missing Origin III due to his hand injury.
Career Head-to-Head clashes: Played 10 – Farah 3, Smith 7 (NRL games only)
NRL Fantasy Prices: Farah $442,000 (Season: -$146,000; Average: 56), Smith $473,000 (Season: -$109,000; Average: 61.2)
Luke Brooks v Cooper Cronk
Luke Brooks will face the Melbourne Storm for the first time in his career tonight. The Storm are the only Club that the 2014 Dally M Rookie of the Year is yet to face in his relatively short career. The return of Farah at hooker should assist both Brooks and fellow halves partner Mitchell Moses as they look to break a five-game losing streak.
Cooper Cronk has won nine of his 14 career clashes with Wests Tigers, including four of his past five. However, the Queensland playmaker hasn’t enjoyed such a successful record at Leichhardt Oval, with just two victories in six games at the ground.
This is the first time Brooks and Cronk will come up against one another, making for an intriguing contest between two crafty number sevens. While Cronk has a wealth of experience under his belt, don’t be surprised to see Brooks stand-up in front of a parochial home crowd.
Career Head-to-Head clashes: Yet to play at an NRL level.
NRL Fantasy Prices: Brooks $288,000 (Season: +$67,000; Average: 34), Cronk $319,000 (Season: -$107,000; Average: 40.8)