Wests Tigers will take on the St. George-Illawarra Dragons this Sunday afternoon at ANZ Stadium desperate to turn around a run of three consecutive defeats.
Andrew Webster’s men were much improved against the Melbourne Storm last weekend — leading the competition frontrunners 14-0 just before half-time before again struggling to continue their form in the second half to finish with a 22-14 defeat in the end.
The signs were definitely positive for the Interim Coach, however, and they’ll head into Sunday’s game confident of building on those against a very much in-form Dragons side.
Led by a powerful and focused forward pack, Paul McGregor’s side — who many tipped to struggle in 2017 — have proven plenty of people wrong so far this year with three quality wins from their four games so far this year. The likes of Jack De Belin, Paul Vaughan and Joel Thompson have simply been running through their opponents, and their much-maligned attack is finally clicking, averaging 25 points per game this year.
For Wests Tigers, they’ll come into Sunday’s game without halfback Luke Brooks, who picked up a hamstring injury in last week’s loss to the Storm. That will no doubt add a little bit extra on the shoulder of Mitchell Moses and James Tedesco but, as shown by the run to the finals last year, that may just bring the best out of the talented duo.
Jamal Idris and Matt Ballin have also been named to return in the 17-man squad for Wests Tigers, while the Dragons remain unchanged from last week’s victory.
Date — Sunday, April 2, 2017
Time — 4:00pm AEST
Venue — ANZ Stadium, Sydney
TV, LIVE STREAM AND RADIO INFORMATION
TV — Channel 9 and Fox Sports League (Ch.502) from 3:30pm AEDT
Radio — FM 104.9 Triple M, AM 702 ABC Grandstand (check local guides)
Live Stream —NRL Digital Pass and Foxtel Go (subscription required)
Referees — Henry Perenara and Matt Noyen
Touch Judge — Rohan Best and Phil Henderson
Review Officials — Bernard Sutton and Ben Galea
1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Jamal Idris 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Moses Suli 6. Mitchell Moses 7. Jack Littlejohn 8. Aaron Woods 9. Matt McIlwrick 10. Ava Seumanufagai 11. Josh Aloiai 12. Chris Lawrence 13. Elijah Taylor (Interchange: 14. Tim Grant 15. Sauaso Sue 16. Michael Chee Kam 17. Matt Ballin 18. Kyle Lovett 19. Justin Hunt) — Coach: Andrew Webster
St. George-Illawarra Dragons
1. Josh Dugan 2. Nene Macdonald 17. Kurt Mann 4. Tim Lafai 5. Jason Nightingale 6. Gareth Widdop 7. Josh McCrone 8. Russell Packer 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Joel Thompson 13. Jack de Belin (Interchange: 14. Tariq Sims 15. Leeson Ah Mau 16. Jacob Host 19. Taane Milne 20. Luciano Leilua 21. Hame Sele) — Coach: Paul McGregor
Round 1 — Wests Tigers 34 def. South Sydney Rabbitohs 18
Round 2 — Penrith Panthers 36 def. Wests Tigers 2
Round 3 — Canberra Raiders 46 def. Wests Tigers 6
Round 4 — Melbourne Storm 22 def. Wests Tigers 14
St. George-Illawarra Dragons
Round 1 — St. George-Illawarra Dragons 42 def. Penrith Panthers 10
Round 2 — Parramatta Eels 34 def. St. George-Illawarra Dragons 16
Round 3 — St. George-Illawarra Dragons 16 def. Cronulla Sharks 10
Round 4 — St. George-Illawarra Dragons 26 def. New Zealand Warriors 10
· Head-to-Head — Played 32, Dragons 17, Wests Tigers 15, Drawn 0
· At ANZ Stadium — Played 11, Dragons 6, Wests Tigers 5
· Last Time They Met — Wests Tigers 25 def. Dragons 12 (2016)
THREE FINAL FACTS
— A third of Wests Tigers’ total tries scored this year have been more than 50m
— Gareth Widdop leads all players in the NRL for total points scored (48)
— No player in the NRL has touched the ball more than Cameron McInnes (453)