Wests Tigers will welcome back a number of key players when they take on the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland this Saturday afternoon for their Round 9 clash.

Having recorded another heartbreaking two-point defeat last weekend (their third of the 2018 season), Ivan Cleary's side have been boosted by the inclusions of key middle forwards Elijah Taylor (concussion) and Alex Twal (shoulder), who were both sidelined in the 24-22 loss to the Parramatta Eels.

Taylor will start in his customary lock forward role, pushing Matt Eisenhuth back to the middle at prop, with Sauaso Sue moving back to the interchange bench where he is joined by Twal.

Jacob Liddle (sternum) is the key omission for Wests Tigers this week, with Pita Godinet moving in to the run-on side. With no recognised hooker listed on the interchange bench, he may be spelled by Taylor, or Matt McIlwrick may come in to the squad after being listed as part of the four-man reserves list.

After making his club debut last week, powerful winger Mahe Fonua has retained his spot on the wing, with Malakai Watene-Zelezniak included amongst the reserves list in jersey 21.

Tim Grant and Tyson Gamble round out the reserves list for Saturday's game against the Warriors as Wests Tigers look to get their season back on track with a return to the winners circle.

For the Warriors, there's a number of big and interesting inclusions for Saturday's game — the most intriguing that of Isaac Luke, who was initially ruled out by the club for up to four weeks.

Luke picked up a knee injury in the early stages of last week's loss to the Melbourne Storm, but has surprisingly been named to start the match at hooker after training with the team during the week.

There is cover on the bench for Luke, however, with former Gold Coast utility Karl Lawton named in jersey 14 for what would be his club debut. He comes on to the bench in place of Jazz Tevaga who is sidelined with a shoulder injury, while back-up hooker Sam Cook has also been included in the reserves.

Kiwi internationals Shaun Johnson, Tohu Harris and Solomone Kata have all been named to make their return from injury in Saturday's game, while James Gavet also finds his way on to the interchange list after featuring in the Warriors' Intrust Super Premiership team over the weekend. The former Wests Tigers forward has not played NRL since picking up a hamstring injury in the Round 4 win over the Roosters.

Anthony Gelling, Mason Lino and Isaiah Papali'i — who all started last week's ANZAC Round defeat to the Melbourne Storm — have been named amongst the reserves following mass changes from Kearney.

 

WESTS TIGERS

1. Corey Thompson
2. David Nofoaluma
3. Esan Marsters
4. Kevin Naiqama
5. Mahe Fonua
6. Benji Marshall (capt.)
7. Luke Brooks
8. Matt Eisenhuth
9. Pita Godinet
10. Ben Matulino
11. Chris Lawrence
12. Robbie Rochow
13. Elijah Taylor

Interchange:
14. Alex Twal
15. Josh Aloiai
16. Michael Chee Kam
17. Sauaso Sue

Reserves:
18. Tim Grant
19. Matt McIlwrick
20. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak
21. Tyson Gamble

Coach: Ivan Cleary

NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS

1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (capt.)
2. David Fusitu'a
3. Peta Hiku
4. Solomone Kata
5. Ken Maumalo
6. Blake Green
7. Shaun Johnson
8. Bunty Afoa
9. Isaac Luke
10. Agnatius Paasi
11. Simon Mannering
12. Tohu Harris
13. Adam Blair

Interchange:
14. Karl Lawton
15. Sam Lisone
16. Isaiah Papali'i
17. James Gavet

Reserves:
18. Anthony Gelling
20. Mason Lino
21. Albert Vete
22. Sam Cook

Coach: Stephen Kearney