After a long few months of pre-season training, Wests Tigers’ season opener is finally here as the Club takes on the South Sydney Rabbitohs this Friday night.
Following a disappointing Round 26 defeat to the Canberra Raiders last season that saw Jason Taylor’s men miss out on a finals appearance, Wests Tigers will head into the 2017 season eager to go one better, and make amends for that fated final round last year.
With one of the most electric spines in the competition, and the arrival of fan favourite Jamal Idris, Wests Tigers again possess one of the more exciting attacks in the NRL, and will certainly prove to be a handful on Friday night. Meanwhile, up front, captain Aaron Woods leads an underrated forward pack that will have their hands full against the Rabbitohs, but will head into the match confident following recent head-to-head success.
Michael Maguire’s men were dealt a blow in the lead up to Friday’s season opener, with star halfback Adam Reynolds ruled out with appendicitis. Back up playmaker Luke Kelly will partner Cody Walker in the halves, while former Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah has been named to make his Club debut following his appearance in the Charity Shield.
Despite the inclusion of several new faces in the Rabbitohs’ pack, the likes of the Burgess brothers, Kyle Turner and John Sutton still give the cardinal and myrtle plenty of threat across the park and help maintain their status as one of the game’s best forward packs.
How both teams will settle in what’s sure to be a high-octane affair remains to be seen, with Wests Tigers keen to extend their winning streak against South Sydney to four in a row and the Rabbitohs keen to bounce back from a 2016 season that didn’t go to plan.
Date — Friday, March 3, 2017
Time — 8:00pm AEDT
Venue — ANZ Stadium, Sydney
TV, LIVE STREAM AND RADIO INFORMATION
TV — Live via Channel 9 and Fox Sports League from 7:30pm
Radio — Live via AM 702 ABC Grandstand and AM 2GB 873 (check local guides)
Live Stream — Live via NRL’s Digital Pass and Foxtel Go (subscription required)
Referees — Ashley Klein and Chris James
Touch Judge — Tim Roby and Rohan Best
Review Officials — Bernard Sutton and Ben Galea
UPDATE: Wests Tigers and South Sydney have both confirmed 19-man squads for the match, with final 17-man teams to be announced one hour prior to kickoff (7:00pm, Friday).
South Sydney Rabbitohs
1. Greg Inglis 2. Alex Johnston 3. Hymel Hunt 4. Siosifa Talaki 5. Bryson Goodwin 6. Cody Walker 7. Luke Kelly 8. Zane Musgrove 9. Robbie Farah 10. David Tyrrell 11. John Sutton 12. Kyle Turner 13. Sam Burgess (Interchange: 14. Damien Cook 15. Jason Clark 16. Thomas Burgess 17. Robbie Rochow 18. Angus Crichton 19. Braidon Burns) — Coach: Michael Maguire
1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Jamal Idris 4. Kevin Naiqama 21. Moses Suli 6. Mitchell Moses 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods 9. Matt McIlwrick 10. Ava Seumanufagai 11. Sauaso Sue 12. Chris Lawrence 13. Elijah Taylor (Interchange: 14. Tim Grant 15. Josh Aloiai 16. Michael Chee Kam 17. Joel Edwards 18. Jack Littlejohn 19. Justin Hunt) — Coach: Jason Taylor
South Sydney Rabbitohs
Trial — Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 22 def. South Sydney Rabbitohs 16
Trial — South Sydney Rabbitohs 32 def. St. George-Illawarra Dragons 14
Trial — St. George-Illawarra Dragons 20 def. Wests Tigers 10
Trial — North Queensland Cowboys 18 def. Wests Tigers 16
· Head-to-Head — Played 29, South Sydney 15, Wests Tigers 14
· At ANZ Stadium — Played 13, Wests Tigers 7, South Sydney 6
· Last Time They Met — Wests Tigers 30 def. South Sydney 14 (Rd.14, 2016)
THREE FINAL FACTS
· Wests Tigers have won three of their last four Friday night games
· South Sydney have only won 31.3 percent of their games without Adam Reynolds
· Wests Tigers have scored 64 points in their last three games against the Rabbitohs