Taylor to return as captain in boost for Wests Tigers

Wests Tigers Head Coach Ivan Cleary will welcome back co-captain Elijah Taylor for Saturday's clash against the Newcastle Knights at Scully Park in Tamworth.

Taylor has not played for the club since picking up a hamstring injury back in the Round 2 win over Melbourne, and his inclusion is a big one following the omission of fellow co-captain Chris Lawrence.

Lawrence picked up a minor injury in the early stages of last week's win over the Sea Eagles at Lottoland — ruling him out of Saturday's game, with the injury not expected to keep him sidelined for long.

With Taylor back on deck and set to captain the side, Matt Eisenhuth pushes in to the front row in place of the injured Russell Packer, with Josh Aloiai moving to the left back row position in place of Lawrence.

After making his long-awaited club debut last weekend, Josh Reynolds has unfortunately been ruled out with a minor shoulder issue, with Pita Godinet recalled to the squad on the interchange bench.

He joins an otherwise unchanged bench and reserves list for Cleary's men, who will look to record their sixth win of the season and make it three wins in a row against the Novacastrians.

For Newcastle, Coach Nathan Brown has named a similar squad to the one that suffered a heavy defeat last weekend to the Melbourne Storm, with Jack Cogger's inclusion a key one for the visitors this weekend.

Cogger starts at five-eighth for the first time this season in place of Brock Lamb, while Mitch Barnett returns from suspension to start at lock — pushing Herman Ese'ese back in to the front row.

Fiji international Daniel Saifiti drops back to the reserves with brother Jacob listed on the bench.

In addition to a sellout crowd at Scully Park, Round 7 will also feature as Kevin Naiqama's 100th first-grade match — 77 of which have come for Wests Tigers since debuting for the Knights in 2010.

 

WESTS TIGERS

1. Corey Thompson
2. David Nofoaluma
3. Esan Marsters
4. Kevin Naiqama
5. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak
6. Benji Marshall
7. Luke Brooks
8. Matt Eisenhuth
9. Jacob Liddle
10. Ben Matulino
11. Josh Aloiai
12. Robbie Rochow
13. Elijah Taylor (capt.)

Interchange:
14. Pita Godinet
15. Alex Twal
16. Michael Chee Kam
17. Sauaso Sue

Reserves:
18. Tim Grant
19. Chris McQueen
20. Tyson Gamble
21. Tuimoala Lolohea

Coach: Ivan Cleary

 

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS

1. Kalyn Ponga
2. Shaun Kenny-Dowall
3. Sione Mata'utia
4. Nathan Ross
5. Ken Sio
6. Jack Cogger
7. Mitchell Pearce (capt.)
8. Herman Ese'ese
9. Slade Griffin
10. Jacob Lillyman
11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon
12. Aidan Guerra
13. Mitchell Barnett

Interchange:
14. Danny Levi
15. Chris Heighington
16. Jamie Buhrer (capt.)
17. Jacob Saifiti

Reserves:
18. Daniel Saifiti
19. Josh King
20. Luke Yates
21. Cory Denniss

Coach: Nathan Brown