Mitchell Moses and Josh Reynolds face-off in what will be a quality match-up of two in-form five-eighths this Saturday night at ANZ Stadium.
Moses has been at his dangerous attacking best in recent times, making six line-breaks in his past six games and continually improving his combination with Luke Brooks and James Tedesco.
While Wests Tigers will be without NSW debutant Tedesco this week, the 21-year-old livewire will look to step up in his absence and cause an upset against the fourth-placed Bulldogs.
Reynolds was unfortunate not to earn a recall to the New South Wales side this week with the withdrawal of Adam Reynolds, as Laurie Daley opted for fullback Matt Moylan to fill the void instead.
The 27-year-old carved up the Wests Tigers during the two side’s previous meeting in Round 10 this year, making three line-breaks and scoring a try in the 36-4 victory.
Both players have handy number sevens beside them – with Brooks and Moses Mbye also having solid seasons for their respective sides.
The clash of the pivots will be pivotal to the outcome of this encounter, however a lot will depend on which forward pack can lay the platform to give Moses and Reynolds the best opportunity to show their attacking prowess.
Moses and Reynolds have only come up against each other twice in the NRL, with each player taking one away one win a piece.
Individually, Moses has met the Bulldogs five times previously in his career, winning two and losing the other three games.
Reynolds has also played a total of five games against Wests Tigers, holding a strong four win and one loss record, while also scoring five tries during those matches.
Half century up quick…
This week will be Moses’ 50th NRL appearance, an amazing achievement given that he has missed just the one match since his debut in 2014.
The 21-year-old was unlucky to miss that particular game – this year’s Round 9 game against South Sydney – in which he withdrew just before kick-off after injuring his quad in the warm-up.
Moses rates Moses…
The battle of the halves is shaping as a fierce competition this weekend with Moses Mbye weighing in on the match-up.
The Bulldogs halfback spoke to the media during the week, highlighting Moses and Brooks as players they need to shut down.
“They’re playing good. They’re playing with quite a bit of confidence and momentum as well,” he said. “The two halves have got them going good and they have a good forward pack up front.
“If we don’t turn up on Saturday night, they’re going to be tough to beat.”
What he said…
Mitchell Moses: “(The absence of James Tedesco) is massive and has put a bit more pressure on me but I’m happy to have that on my shoulders – it’ll be a tough game.
“The Bulldogs have been in good form recently and it’ll be a tough task but without Teddy it’ll definitely be a bit tougher.
“They have got a very good back three at the Bulldogs, so you can’t really give them much space so our kicking game is going to have to be on.
“We spoke about the last time we played them, it was probably our second worst game of the year besides that Canberra game.
“We just didn’t turn up to that (Bulldogs) game, they were making too many metres and shifting the ball on the edges and beating us there.
“We have done some work on that so hopefully we can come away with the win,” he said.
Josh Reynolds: “I just think if we do us well and nail the things we need to work on, I think we can get the win,” he said.
“I think if we worry too much about who’s playing for Wests Tigers, or who’s not, then that will be our undoing.
“We’ve got to turn up and pretend that it’s the Sharks or one of the teams that are leading the competition – we will definitely be switched on this week.
“They’ve (Wests Tigers) got strike across the park in some really underrated players, I think Elijah Taylor has been really great for them since he came to the Club.
“He is a ball-playing forward that can lay the platform them but also has some silky skills and then guys on the outside like Nofoaluma and Simona are a handful too.
“We definitely have to be at our best,” he said.