Wests Tigers will head to Mount Smart Stadium this Sunday to take on the New Zealand Warriors knowing that they need to win to keep their finals hopes alive.

While Jason Taylor’s men will know the fate of their potential finals berth prior to the match — if Penrith lose to the Gold Coast Titans they cannot make the finals — Sunday’s game will no doubt see a sense of urgency from Wests Tigers as they look to bounce back from a comprehensive last-start 40-10 defeat to the Penrith Panthers at Pepper Stadium.

Level on points with the Warriors prior to Sunday’s game, a loss for either side would spell the end of their finals hopes heading into the final round of the regular season.

With James Tedesco (jaw) still sidelined, David Nofoaluma makes the move to fullback for the first time in his career — switching with Jordan Rankin, who moves back to the wing. Meanwhile, the Warriors will also see some changes in the backs, with Tuimoala Lolohea and Solomone Kata both named to make their return to the first-grade side.

When they met earlier in the year, it was Wests Tigers who came away with a 34-26 win over the Warriors, but much has changed for both sides since that Round 1 encounter.

With both teams coming into the match on the back of two-game losing streaks and desperate to keep their finals hopes alive, it’s shaping as a fascinating encounter indeed!

Don't miss our last home game of the year against the Raiders at Leichhardt Oval!

Match Details

Date — Sunday, August 28, 2016

Time — 2:00pm AEST (4:00pm local time)

Venue — Mount Smart Stadium, New Zealand

 

Match Officials

On-Field Referees — Gerard Sutton and Alan Shortall

Touch Judges — Jeff Younis and Shane Rehm

Review Officials — Ashley Klein, Steve Chiddy and Luke Patten

 

TV, Live Stream and Radio Information

TV —Fox Sports 1 (AUS, subscription required) and Sky Sports 2 (NZ)

Live Stream — Foxtel Go, NRL Digital Pass (subscription required)

Radio — AM 873 2GB, AM 702 ABC Grandstand
 


Confirmed Squads

New Zealand Warriors

 

Wests Tigers

David Fusitu’a

1

David Nofoaluma

Tuimoala Lolohea

2

Jordan Rankin

Blake Ayshford

3

Tim Simona

Solomone Kata

4

Kevin Naiqama

Manu Vatuvei

5

Josh Addo-Carr

Thomas Leuluai

6

Mitchell Moses

Shaun Johnson

7

Luke Brooks

Jacob Lillyman

8

Aaron Woods (capt.)

Nathaniel Roache

9

Dene Halatau

Albert Vete

10

Sauaso Sue

Bodene Thompson

11

Josh Aloiai

Ryan Hoffman (capt.)

12

Chris Lawrence

Simon Mannering

13

Elijah Taylor

Ata Hingano

14

Kyle Lovett

Sam Lisone

15

Ava Seumanufagai

Ben Matulino

16

Tim Grant

James Gavet

17

Joel Edwards

Bunty Afoa

18

Michael Chee Kam

Andrew McFadden

Coach

Jason Taylor


Unavailable Players

NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS — Ken Maumalo (hamstring), Isaac Luke (knee), Charlie Gubb (suspension), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (knee), Sione Lousi (knee)

WESTS TIGERS — James Tedesco (jaw), Matt Ballin (knee), Nathan Milone (knee)

 

2016 Recent Results

Wests Tigers

R20 — Wests Tigers 25 def. St. George-Illawarra Dragons 12

R21 — Wests Tigers 23 def. Parramatta Eels 8

R22 — Wests Tigers 26 def. North Queensland Cowboys 14

R23 — Gold Coast Titans 19 def. Wests Tigers 18

R24 — Penrith Panthers 40 def. Wests Tigers 10
 

New Zealand Warriors

R20 — Canberra Raiders 26 def. New Zealand Warriors 22

R21 — New Zealand Warriors 20 def. Penrith Panthers 16

R22 — New Zealand Warriors 24 def. Gold Coast Titans 14

R23 — South Sydney Rabbitohs 41 def. New Zealand Warriors 22

R24 — North Queensland Cowboys 34 def. New Zealand Warriors 6
 


Last Time They Met — Wests Tigers 34 def. New Zealand Warriors 26 (Rd.1, 2016)

Wests Tigers led from start to finish last time they faced the Warriors, with Curtis Sironen, Kyle Lovett, David Nofoaluma, James Tedesco and Tim Simona all scoring in the opening 40 minutes to give the home side a 28-4 half-time lead. The Warriors would do their best to fight back in the second half, before a second try to Tedesco in the final minutes sealed the win for Wests Tigers over the then-premiership heavyweights (click here for more).

 

The History

·       Against the Warriors — Played 26, Won 13, Lost 13, Drawn 0

·       At Mount Smart Stadium — Played 10, Won 4, Lost 6, Drawn 0

 

Player to Watch — David Fusitu’a, Fullback, New Zealand Warriors

He might have plied his trade on the wing for most of the season, but a recent switch to fullback for David Fusitu’a means the livewire back will be around the footy much more this weekend, which could lead to success for the Warriors. One of the best sideline finishers in the game, Fusitu’a is the Warriors second top-try scorer of the year with 11 in 16 games, with 14 linebreaks and an average of 135 metres per game, and will no doubt be in the thick of whatever the home side’s attack produces on Sunday.

 

Three Final Facts

—    Tim Simona has scored five tries in his last four games against the Warriors

—    Wests Tigers have not beaten the Warriors twice in the same season since 2011

—    Wests Tigers average 27.8 points for in their last 10 games against the Warriors