Wests Tigers will look to bounce back in to the top eight of the competition when they take on the Cronulla Sharks this Sunday at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
After a heartbreaking 16-14 defeat to the Sydney Roosters last weekend saw Wests Tigers drop out of the top eight for the first time this season, Ivan Cleary's side will be desperate to get back in the winners circle as they head over to the Shire to face a Cronulla side similarly craving a bounce-back win.
Entering last week's game against the Origin-depleted Rabbitohs with a four-game winning streak, Cronulla were simply outmuscled and enthused from the opening whistle — going down 22-14 in a result that offered far more respectability on the scoreboard than it did on the actual field with two late tries.
Shane Flanagan's side rarely dish up poor performances back-to-back, and they'll receive a number of boosts this week as they return home to Southern Cross Group Stadium where they've won their last three.
Co-captain Wade Graham has been cleared of any serious problems from last week's concussion and has been named to start on Sunday, while Origin flyer Valentine Holmes is also available — the outside back named to play at fullback after featuring for Queensland in the series opener on Wednesday night.
For Wests Tigers, the only real change is that of Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, who replaces the injured David Nofoaluma on the wing. Watene-Zelezniak returns to the squad after featuring in the majority of the season so far, and will have fond memories of Southern Cross Group Stadium having scored the first try of his career at the ground last year when the two teams met almost 12 months ago to the date.
Historically, Wests Tigers do have a good head-to-head record against Cronulla, but have lost their last four matches against the Sharks and will need to be at their best to combat a vocal home crowd on Sunday.
Ivan Cleary's side have shown they can match it with any side in the competition this year and will still be smarting after letting the two points slip through their fingers last week. Will that desire be enough to see the visitors bounce back to form this weekend or will it be the home side who gets back in the groove?
Date — Sunday, June 10, 2018
Time — 2:00pm AEST
Venue — Southern Cross Group Stadium, Woolooware
TV, RADIO AND LIVE STREAM INFORMATION
TV — Fox League (Ch.502)
Radio — AM 702 ABC Grandstand, AM 2GB 873
Live Stream —Foxtel Go, NRL Digital Pass, Watch NRL Streaming (exc. Australia)
LATEST CROWNBET ODDS
H2H — Cronulla Sharks ($1.50), Wests Tigers ($2.60)
LINE — Cronulla Sharks -6.0 ($1.92), Wests Tigers +6.0 ($1.92)
Odds correct as of 3:00pm, Thursday, June 7 — 18+ only and gamble responsibly
LATEST (2pm, Saturday) — Valentine Holmes is set to back up from Wednesday's State of Origin series opener, with Wade Graham also cleared of any concussion issues. Scott Sorensen and Sosaia Feki drop off the reserves list for Cronulla, while Robbie Rochow and Tyson Gamble drop back to play in reserve-grade.
|CRONULLA SHARKS||WESTS TIGERS|
|Valentine Holmes||1||Tuimoala Lolohea|
|Sione Katoa||2||Malakai Watene-Zelezniak|
|Jesse Ramien||3||Esan Marsters|
|Ricky Leutele||4||Mahe Fonua|
|Edrick Lee||5||Corey Thompson|
|Matt Moylan||6||Benji Marshall (capt.)|
|Chad Townsend||7||Luke Brooks|
|Andrew Fifita||8||Russell Packer|
|Jayden Brailey||9||Elijah Taylor|
|Matt Prior||10||Ben Matulino|
|Luke Lewis||11||Chris Lawrence|
|Wade Graham (capt.)||12||Michael Chee Kam|
|Paul Gallen (capt.)||13||Matt Eisenhuth|
|Joseph Paulo||Int. 14||Alex Twal|
|James Segeyaro||Int. 15||Josh Reynolds|
|Jack Williams||Int. 16||Josh Aloiai|
|Jayson Bukuya||Int. 17||Tim Grant|
|Kurt Capewell||Res. 18 /20||Pita Godinet|
|Ava Seumanufagai||Res. 19/21||Kevin Naiqama|
|Shane Flanagan||Coach||Ivan Cleary|
Match Referees — Adam Gee and Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
Touch Judges — Brett Suttor and Liam Nicholls
Review Officials — Henry Perenara and Luke Patten