Competition - NRL. Round - Round 16. Teams - St. George Dragons v Newcastle Knights. Date - 25th of June 2017. Venue - Jubilee Oval

Wests Tigers will welcome back representative fullback James Tedesco for Sunday’s key clash against the Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Currently level on points with the Knights and the bye looming in Round 18, Sunday’s game stands as a classic “four-point” encounter for the visitors, who will be desperate to end a run of seven straight defeats dating back to a Round 8 win over the Bulldogs.

Tedesco was a late withdrawl from last week’s loss to Gold Coast after picking up an ankle injury in Origin II, but will return at fullback this week — allowing Kevin Naiqama to return to the wing, while Malakai Watene-Zelezniak drops back to the reserves.

That change is the only one for Ivan Cleary’s side, with Jacob Liddle once again retaining the starting spot over Matt McIlwrick following an impressive effort last weekend.

Having only joined Wests Tigers last week, uncapped rookie forward Alex Twal could be in line to make his Club and NRL debut after being included in jersey 21.

Chris Lawrence (hamstring) is slated to return from injury after next week’s bye, while Tim Grant (hamstring) and Josh Aloiai (knee) are also closing in on their respective returns.

For the Knights, Coach Nathan Brown has retained Nathan Ross at fullback after an impressive performance last week against the Dragons, with Dane Gagai named in the centres.

Jamie Buhrer and Joe Wardle also return from injury — named on the interchange bench — with Sam Mataora and Sam Stone dropping back to the reserves list.

Luke Yates is out with a shoulder injury, while Trent Hodkinson could also play his first game in the top grade since Round 7 after being named amongst the reserves in jersey 20.

See all the team news and details for both sides ahead of this week's match below!

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WESTS TIGERS

In’s | James Tedesco

Out’s | Malakai Watene-Zelezniak

Reserves | Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Jack Littlejohn, Joel Edwards, Alex Twal

Unavailable | Chris Lawrence, Tim Grant, Josh Aloiai, Jamal Idris, Justin Hunt

1. James Tedesco
2. David Nofoaluma
3. Esan Marsters
4. Moses Suli
5. Kevin Naiqama
6. Tuimoala Lolohea
7. Luke Brooks
8. Aaron Woods (capt.)
9. Jacob Liddle
10. Ava Seumanufagai
11. Sauaso Sue
12. Kyle Lovett
13. Elijah Taylor

Interchange:
14. Matt Eisenhuth
15. JJ Felise
16. Michael Chee Kam
17. Matt McIlwrick

Reserves:
18. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak
19. Jack Littlejohn
20. Joel Edwards
21. Alex Twal

Coach: Ivan Cleary

 

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS

In’s | Jamie Buhrer, Joe Wardle

Out’s | Sam Mataora, Luke Yates, Sam Stone

Reserves | Sam Mataora, Sam Stone, Trent Hodkinson, Josh Starling

Unavailable | Luke Yates, Chanel Mata'utia, Anthony Tupou, Rory Kostjasyn

1. Nathan Ross
2. Ken Sio
3. Dane Gagai
4. Peter Mata'utia
5. Brendan Elliot
6. Brock Lamb
7. Jaleen Feeney
8. Daniel Saifiti
9. Danny Levi
10. Josh King
11. Sione Mata'utia (capt.)
12. Lachlan Fitzgibbon
13. Mitch Barnett

Interchange:
14. Jamie Buhrer
15. Joe Wardle
16. Tyler Randell
17. Jacob Saifiti

Reserves:
18. Sam Mataora
19. Sam Stone
20. Trent Hodkinson
21. Josh Starling

Coach: Nathan Brown