Wests Tigers will be looking to bounce back when they host the Newcastle Knights at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Saturday afternoon for their Round 11 match.
After a disappointing performance against the Bulldogs last Sunday afternoon, the home side will be well aware of the bounce back factor against the bottom-placed Newcastle Knights, who themselves went down 62-0 against Cronulla at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
Wests Tigers Head Coach Jason Taylor has made a number of changes to the side in a bid to turn things around, with Josh Aloiai, Ava Seumanufagai and Dene Halatau all promoted to the starting line up. Robbie Farah will miss the match following concussion, but is well-replaced by former Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles hooker Matt Ballin, who will make his club debut after making a successful return in the Intrust Super Premiership last weekend.
History suggests Newcastle have had the wood over the home side the past four years, winning five of their last six, although five of those games were played at Hunter Stadium.
Contests between the two sides have been close since the start of 2014, with an average margin of six points or less from the last four fixtures.
The Knights have struggled to score a point in a month, let alone secure any wins — conceding 179 and scoring just 10 to sit bottom of the competition table with a differential of -253. Nathan Brown’s men gain some experience back this week with Trent Hodkinson returning in the halves, and Sam Mataora named after missing last weekend with a hamstring injury.
The Round 11 clash marks as Family Day at Campbelltown Sports Stadium, with the crowd welcome to enter the field post game as well as a number of other Game Day activities.
Date — Saturday, May 11, 2016
Time — 3:00pm AEDT (10:20am Gates Open)
Venue — Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Campbelltown
On-Field Referees — Gerard Sutton and Adam Devcich
Touch Judges — Clayton Sharpe and Rick MacFarlane
Review Officials — Bryan Norrie and Jason Robinson
TV, Live Stream and Radio Information
TV — Live via Fox Sports 1 (subscription required)
Live Stream — Foxtel Go, NRL Digital Pass (subscription required)
Radio — FM 104.9 Triple M, ABC 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. Dene Halatau 10. Ava Seumanufagai 11. Josh Aloiai 12. Chris Lawrence 13. Elijah Taylor (Interchange: 14. Tim Grant 15. Matt Ballin 16. JJ Felise 17. Kyle Lovett 18. Michael Chee Kam)
Newcastle Knights — 1. Dane Gagai 2. Nathan Ross 3. Sione Mata’utia 4. Pat Mata’utia 5. Akuila Uate 6. Brock Lamb 7. Trent Hodkinson 8. Sam Mataora 9. Danny Levi 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tariq Sims 12. Jacob Saifiti 13. Jeremy Smith (Interchange: 14. Tyler Randell 15. Korbin Sims 16. Jack Stockwell 17. Mickey Paea 18. Pauli Pauli 19. Jack Cogger)
Wests Tigers — Robbie Farah (concussion, R12) Curtis Sironen (ankle, R12) James Tedesco (shoulder, R12-14) Bayley Sironen (ankle, R13) Rod Griffin (knee, R14-16) Nathan Milone (knee, indefinite) Sauaso Sue (rib, indefinite)
Newcastle Knights — Chanel Mata’utia (knee, R16) Robbie Rochow (arm, R16) Peter Mata’utia (knee, R16) Jarrod Mullen (hamstring, indefinite) Jake Mamo (ankle, indefinite) James McManus (concussion, season) Kade Snowden (various injuries, indefinite)
2016 Recent Results
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
R10 — Canterbury Bulldogs 34 def. Wests Tigers 4
R6 — Newcastle Knights 18 def. Wests Tigers 16
R7 — Brisbane Bronco 53 def. Newcastle Knights 0
R8 — Manly Sea Eagles 26 def. Newcastle Knights 10
R9 — Sydney Roosters 38 def. Newcastle Knights 0
R10 — Cronulla Sharks 62 def. Newcastle Knights 0
Last Time They Met — Newcastle Knights 18 def. Wests Tigers 16 (Rd.6, 2016)
These two sides faced each other just over a month ago in Round 6, where the Knights beat the Wests Tigers by two points at Hunter Stadium.
Tries to James Tedesco and Jordan Rankin had the visitors in front for majority of the first half, before a Korbin Sims four-pointer before the break handed the Knights a two-point lead.
The match was not without controversy after the break, when Sims kicked a second ball in the eye line of Jordan Rankin in the 46th minute, leading to a try to winger Nathan Ross the following set. Tedesco and Rankin linked to help set up a thrilling finish for the Wests Tigers, but the home side hung on for their first win of year.
Newcastle 18 (Akuila Uate, Korbin Sims, Nathan Ross tries; Trent Hodkinson 3/3 goals) def. Wests Tigers 16 (Jordan Rankin 2, James Tedesco tries; Jordan Rankin 2/3 goals
· Against the Knights — Played 22, Won 10, Lost 12, Drawn 0
· At Campbelltown — Played 7, Won 4, Lost 3, Drawn 0
Player to Watch — Dane Gagai, Newcastle Knights
In a dismal start to the season, Knights centre-turned-fullback Dane Gagai has been a shining light in recent weeks — playing with the effort and skill that earned him his maiden Queensland origin jersey late last year. The 25-year old will play his 100th game in the NRL and is a potent threat in attack, despite the visitors’ lack of points the last month, meaning Jason Taylor’s men will need to be on red alert come Saturday afternoon.
Three Final Facts
· Newcastle have won five of their last six against Wests Tigers
· David Nofoaluma has scored nines tries in nines games at Campbelltown
· Wests Tigers have scored 36 tries in 2016 compared to Newcastle’s 17
What They've Said
“It's a big game this weekend at Campbelltown against Newcastle. It's pretty much like our Grand Final. When you look at the previous times we've played Newcastle, no matter where they are on the ladder they always seem to beat us.” — Aaron Woods, Wests Tigers
“They have classy players and we have classy players as well but both sides are in a bit of a slump at the moment. We just have to move onto this weekend. — Korbin Sims, Newcastle
“Newcastle is a good opportunity for us to improve on last week. With so many losses, it can get tough, but this is a tough sport and we're all in it together so we've got to pull through together and get back with a win this week.” — Ava Seumanufagai, Wests Tigers