Wests Tigers will be searching for back-to-back wins in the aim to climb the ladder when they host the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.
The Round 10 clash marks as Indigenous round, with Wests Tigers wearing their first Indigenous Jersey in the Club's history — a strip designed by one of the Club's Members.
After redeeming themselves following a crushing defeat to Canberra, the home side will be buoyed by their Round 9 efforts against South Sydney, and the performances of several club players during Representative Round. Of the eight players selected in the squad this week that featured throughout the Representative Round, all eight tasted success in their respective matches, and will no doubt be looking to bring similar efforts again this week.
Aaron Woods returns to captain the side this week; however, the team will be without James Tedesco, who was ruled out for four to six weeks with a fractured shoulder blade.
Justin Hunt replaces the Camden junior at the back following his strong performances of late in the Club's Intrust Super Premiership side. The former Dragon and Eel will become player #195 to take the field for Wests Tigers having narrowly missed out on making his Club debut earlier in the year with a back injury sustained in the Club's final trial match.
History suggests the Bulldogs have had some success over the Wests Tigers — winning seven of the past 10 encounters between the two sides — although four of those games were of ten points or less, including two one-point victories for Des Hasler's men.
Canterbury head into the clash with an interesting trend, having gone the last eight weeks of football with a win-loss-win-loss record. Remarkably, they still manage to sit in fifth position, excluding a Parramatta side pending the outcome of a salary cap investigation.
The visitors will be close to full strength for Sunday's match, missing only fullback Will Hopoate who made the decision to stand down from Sunday games on religious grounds. Former New Zealand international Sam Perrett will slot into the No. 1 jersey in his place.
Date — Sunday, May 15, 2016
Time — 4:00pm AEDT (Gates Open 1:40pm)
Venue — ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park
On-Field Referees — Grant Atkins and Alan Shortall
Touch Judges — Brett Suttor and Kasey Badger
Review Officials — Jared Maxwell & Bryan Norrie
TV, LIVE STREAM AND RADIO INFORMATION
TV — Live via Channel 9, Fox Sports 1 (subscription required)
Live Stream — Foxtel Go, NRL Digital Pass (subscription required)
Radio — FM 104.9 Triple M, AM 702 ABC Grandstand (check local guides)
Wests Tigers — 1. Justin Hunt 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Tim Simona 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Jordan Rankin 6. Mitchell Moses 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods 9. Robbie Farah 10. Tim Grant 11. Curtis Sironen 12. Chris Lawrence 13. Sauaso Sue (Interchange: 14. Josh Aloiai 15. Dene Halatau 16. Ava Seumanufagai 17. Kyle Lovett 18. Elijah Taylor)
Bulldogs — 1. Sam Perrett 2. Curtis Rona 3. Josh Morris 4. Kerrod Holland 5. Tyrone Phillips 6. Josh Reynolds 7. Moses Mbye 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. James Graham 11. Josh Jackson 12. Greg Eastwood 13. Sam Kasiano (Interchange: 14. Tony Williams 15. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 16. David Klemmer 17. Tim Browne 19. Lloyd Perrett 20. Craig Garvey)
2016 RECENT RESULTS
R5 — Cronulla Sharks 34 def. Wests Tigers 26
R6 — Newcastle Knights 18 def. Wests Tigers 16
R7 — Melbourne Storm 19 def. Wests Tigers 18
R8 — Canberra Raiders 60 def. Wests Tigers 6
R9 — Wests Tigers 30 def. South Sydney Rabbitohs 22
R5 — Canberra Raiders 22 def. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 8
R6 — Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 18 def. Melbourne Storm 12
R7 — New Zealand Warriors 24 def. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 20
R8 — Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 21 def. Gold Coast Titans 20
R9 — Parramatta Eels 20 def. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 12
LAST TIME THEY MET
Wests Tigers 38 def. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 14 (Rd.8, 2015)
These two sides played each other twice in the space of a month early in 2015 and after a golden point loss against the Bulldogs in Round 4, Wests Tigers bounced back to dominate the Round 8 encounter, securing a 24-point win after leading 18-6 at the halftime break.
Luke Brooks and James Tedesco scored doubles for the visitors while Kevin Naiqama and former player Pat Richards also crossed for four pointers. Naiqama's flick back for Tedesco was voted as the Club's Try of the Year and one of the highlights of the season.
Wests Tigers 34 (Tedesco 2, Brooks 2, Naiqama, Richards tries; Richards 6/8, Moses 1/1 goals) def. Canterbury-Bankstown 14 (Pritchard 2, Rona tries; Hodkinson 1/3 goals)
· Against the Bulldogs — Played 29, Won 11, Lost 18, Drawn 0
· At ANZ Stadium — Played 17, Won 7, Lost 10, Drawn 0
PLAYER TO WATCH — SAM PERRETT
The Bulldogs will lose some strike power with fullback Will Hopoate sitting out Sunday’s match, but have a more-than-suitable replacement in Sam Perrett to take his place. Perrett has been one of the visitors' best in 2016 with six tries from eight games and has played over 60 matches in the custodian role — including matches for the Kiwis at fullback.
His skill set is different to what the State of Origin representative Hopoate offers, but Perrett will be more than comfortable at the back — particularly under the high ball — and Jason Taylor's side will need to ensure they defend well as a line to nullify his influence.
WHAT THEY'VE SAID
“Everybody is feeling fresh and had some good training last week or a good match under their belt, which leads us well into this weekend’s game.” — Jason Taylor, Wests Tigers
"We've been training so hard over the past month, and that win against South Sydney was really important for us. We took a good hard look at some of the little things we'd been glossing over lately and we got them right, and we're just focused now on producing that kind of performance again against the Bulldogs on Sunday." — Tim Grant, Wests Tigers
“We’ve got so much talent around the park and I think we sometimes jump the gun too early. We need to know when to shoot the gun, we’ve got strike force all over the park we just need to nail it.” — Josh Reynolds, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
THREE FINAL FACTS
· Wests Tigers have score 12 tries from long range compared to SIX from Bulldogs (third worst in competition) — indicating visitors’ points are scored close to line.
· Luke Brooks has scored five tries in four games against the Bulldogs
· The Bulldogs have completed 79 percent of their sets — the second highest in NRL.