Wests Tigers Head Coach Ivan Cleary has named a strong 21-man squad to take on the Penrith Panthers this Thursday for their Round 11 clash at Panthers Stadium.

After a confidence-boosting last start win over the North Queensland Cowboys, Cleary has named a near identical squad with the only change that of Fijian international Kevin Naiqama who returns to the centres.

He replaces Mahe Fonua in the side, with Malakai Watene-Zelezniak retained on the wing.

The only other change in the 21-man squad is that of Josh Aloiai, who earns a recall to the 21-man squad following his strong performance in the club's Intrust Super Premiership win over the Warriors.

Aloiai joins Tim Grant, Chris McQueen and Tyson Gamble as the four reserves for Thursday's game.

Russell Packer will formally captain the team, having won his previous two matches as captain in 2018.

For the Panthers, the big news is the return of star halfback Nathan Cleary, with the son of Ivan set to join James Maloney in the halves for the first time since Round 3 where he picked up a knee injury.

His return sees Tyrone Peachey move to the centres, with Isaah Yeo to the back row.

With Peter Wallace out injured, Sione Katoa starts the match at hooker while Wayde Egan joins the bench alongside Viliame Kikau, James Tamou and Jack Hetherington, who returns from suspension.

Jarome Luai, Kaide Ellis, Tyrone May and Nick Lui-Toso have been named as reserves.

Two players will be cut from each squad 24 hours before kickoff (7:50pm, Wednesday) with final 17-man team lists to be confirmed one hour prior to kickoff (6:50pm, Thursday).

 

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. Russell Packer (capt.)
9. Elijah Taylor
10. Ben Matulino
11. Chris Lawrence
12. Robbie Rochow
13. Matt Eisenhuth

Interchange:
14. Alex Twal
15. Jacob Liddle
16. Michael Chee Kam
17. Sauaso Sue

Reserves:
18. Tim Grant
19. Chris McQueen
20. Josh Aloiai
21. Tyson Gamble

Coach: Ivan Cleary

PENRITH PANTHERS

1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
2. Christian Crichton
3. Tyrone Peachey
4. Dean Whare
5. Tyrone Peachey
6. James Maloney (capt.)
7. Nathan Cleary
8. Trent Merrin
9. Sione Katoa
10. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
11. Corey Harawira-Naera
12. Isaah Yeo
13. James Fisher-Harris

Interchange:
14. Wayde Egan
15. Jack Hetherington
16. Viliame Kikau
17. James Tamou

Reserves:
18. Jarome Luai
19. Kaide Ellis
20. Tyrone May
21. Nick Lui-Toso

Coach: Anthony Griffin