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It's certainly getting to the business end of the season for Wests Tigers as they look to keep their finals hopes alive this Friday night against the Newcastle Knights.

Stunning upset wins over the Dragons and Rabbitohs had paved the way for Ivan Cleary's side to make a late assault on the top eight, but a last start defeat to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs certainly proved somewhat of a momentum killer in that regard. Described as "flat" for the entire game, Wests Tigers players will no doubt have been extremely disappointed by their poor performance, and they'll be desperate for the opportunity to make amends this week as they make the trip up to McDonald Jones Stadium.

While it could have been a far more successful weekend for Wests Tigers in Round 20 had they managed to make it three wins in a row (and if Cronulla and Manly both didn't find a way to lose their respective matches), there's still hope there for Cleary's side as they search their first finals appearance since 2011.

The New Zealand Warriors' poor second half against the Gold Coast Titans ensured they remained in eighth position on the ladder, and with a tough game coming up this weekend against the Dragons, there's certainly a chance that Wests Tigers could finish Round 21 just two points outside the top eight.

However, that will all be null and void if the visitors can't get the job done in Newcastle this weekend — a team who themselves will be keen to bounce back from last week's surprise loss to the Cowboys. 

Leading by 12 points late in the contest, Nathan Brown's side showed an uncertainty in defence that could be exploited by Wests Tigers this weekend, but their attack still remains as dangerous as ever.

Much of that could hinge on the inclusion of Kalyn Ponga, who was in doubt after injuring his ankle last week, and the inclusion of the superstar fullback certainly adds a lot to the home side's chances of bouncing back from last week's defeat — particularly given Connor Watson's late withdrawal this week.

Back in Round 7, Wests Tigers saw how capable the Novacastrians could be in attack as they fought their way back for a thrilling last-minute win in Tamworth, and they'll no doubt be on guard once more this weekend as the Knights look to get the job done in their penultimate home game of the season.

Wests Tigers will head in to the game with everything to play for and a team that's shown to be capable of beating the best teams in the competition all season. If that's enough to get the two points... we'll soon see.

 

MATCH DETAILS

Date — Friday, August 3

Time — 6:00pm AEST

Venue — McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle

 

TV, RADIO AND LIVE STREAM INFORMATION

TV — Live via FOX League (Ch.502)

Radio — AM 702 ABC Grandstand, FM 104.9 Triple M Sydney

Live Stream — Foxtel Go, NRL Digital Pass, Watch NRL Streaming (exc. Australia)

 

LATEST CROWNBET ODDS

H2H — Newcastle Knights ($2.05), Wests Tigers ($1.78)

Line — Newcastle Knights +1.5 ($1.92), Wests Tigers -1.5 ($1.92)

Odds correct as of 5:00pm, Wednesday, August 1— 18+ only and gamble responsibly 


TEAM LISTS

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
    Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Moses Mbye
  • Winger for Knights is number 2 Ken Sio
    Winger for Wests Tigers is number 2 David Nofoaluma
  • Centre for Knights is number 3 Sione Mata'utia
    Centre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Esan Marsters
  • Centre for Knights is number 4 Cory Denniss
    Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Kevin Naiqama
  • Winger for Knights is number 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall
    Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Corey Thompson
  • Five-Eighth for Knights is number 20 Jack Cogger
    Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Benji Marshall
  • Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell Pearce
    Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke Brooks

Forwards

  • Prop for Knights is number 16 Josh King
    Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 Russell Packer
  • Hooker for Knights is number 9 Danny Levi
    Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Robbie Farah
  • Prop for Knights is number 10 Daniel Saifiti
    Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 Ben Matulino
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
    2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Michael Chee-Kam
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Mitchell Barnett
    2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 13 Elijah Taylor
  • Lock for Knights is number 13 Aidan Guerra
    Lock for Wests Tigers is number 17 Matthew Eisenhuth

Interchange

  • Interchange for Knights is number 8 Herman Ese'ese
    Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 12 Luke Garner
  • Interchange for Knights is number 14 Jamie Buhrer
    Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Alex Twal
  • Interchange for Knights is number 15 Chris Heighington
    Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Sauaso Sue
  • Interchange for Knights is number 17 JJ Felise
    Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 18 Jacob Liddle

Robbie Rochow drops out for Wests Tigers, with Jacob Liddle coming on to the bench. Luke Garner also drops back to the bench with Elijah Taylor moving to the back row and Matt Eisenhuth to lock. For the Knights, Connor Watson has been ruled out with injury and replaced in the halves by Jack Cogger while Josh King earns a promotion to the run-on side with Herman Ese'ese dropping back to the bench. 

 

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Overall — Played 26, Wests Tigers 12, Newcastle 13, Drawn 1

At McDonald Jones Stadium — Played 14, Wests Tigers 6, Newcastle 8

Last Time They Met — Newcastle Knights 22 def. Wests Tigers 20 (Rd.7, 2018)

 

MATCH OFFICIALS

Match Referees — Grant Atkins and Matt Noyen

Touch Judges — David Munro and Kasey Badger

Review Officials — Henry Perenara and Luke Patten