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Wests Tigers will look to keep their slender finals hopes alive this Thursday night when they take on the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Campbelltown Stadium.

Off the back of a disappointing defeat to the St. George-Illawarra Dragons last Saturday in front of a sold-out Leichhardt Oval, Ivan Cleary's side now find themselves in a simple yet difficult situation if they are to qualify for the club's first finals appearance since 2011 — win their remaining two matches and hope that either the Brisbane Broncos or the New Zealand Warriors also lose both their matches.

In that happening, Cleary's side will also need a points-differential swing to take place — meaning that they are up against it in terms of making the eight, but certainly not down and out just yet.

And as they say, as long as there's hope, there's life.

Playing in the first game of the round this weekend, Wests Tigers can close the gap to both the Broncos and Warriors to just two points — putting the pressure back on those two teams — when they take on a Sea Eagles side down on confidence and in the headlines for all the wrong reasons at this time of the year.

Trent Barrett's side looked to be on course for a dominant victory last week against the Gold Coast Titans when they lead 22-6 at the break, before a stunning second half saw them walk away with a heavy defeat.

The boys from the Northern Beaches cannot make the finals and are just playing for pride at this point, but that doesn't make them any less dangerous than some of the other sides in the competition. Both Tom and Jake Trbojevic showed last week that they can put points on from anywhere on the field, and with an experienced head in Daly Cherry-Evans steering them around, Manly are far from an easy-beat team.

Wests Tigers will head in to Thursday's game without co-captain Elijah Taylor after he picked up a cork in last week's loss — Matt Eisenhuth returning to the run-on side with Chris Lawrence on the edge, while Josh Aloiai and Alex Twal are both welcome returns on the interchange bench after missing out last week.

It's been a tough run for Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Sports Stadium in recent years with the side recording two contrasting but equally devastating losses at the ground this year to the Brisbane Broncos in Round 3 and Canberra Raiders in Round 15. They have lost their last seven games at the venue, and Cleary's comments after the game last week indicated that turning that around would be a key focus.

It seems like an eternity ago, but Wests Tigers did record their biggest win of the season over the Sea Eagles when they met back in Round 6 at Lottoland; the visitors piling on the points early to record an emphatic 38-12 victory. For a side not known for their attack this year, Wests Tigers looked extremely dangerous last week — up until the final pass — and if they can correct their errors and completion rate this Thursday night, there's no reason why they can't produce a similar scoreline again this time around.

 

MATCH DETAILS

Date — Thursday, August 23, 2018

Time — 7:50pm AEST

Venue — Campbelltown Sports Stadium

 

TV, RADIO AND LIVE STREAM INFORMATION

TV — FOX League (Ch.502) and Channel 9

Radio — AM 702 ABC Grandstand, AM 2GB 873, FM 104.9 Triple M Sydney

Live Stream — Foxtel Go, 9Now, NRL Digital Pass, Watch NRL Streaming (exc. Australia)

 

LATEST BETEASY ODDS

H2H — Wests Tigers ($1.57), Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles ($2.40)

Line — Wests Tigers -4.5 ($1.92), Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles +4.5 ($1.92)

Odds correct on Wednesday, August 2 at 12:00pm — 18+ only and gamble responsibly

TEAM LISTS

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Moses Mbye
    Fullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Tom Trbojevic
  • Winger for Wests Tigers is number 2 David Nofoaluma
    Winger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jorge Taufua
  • Centre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Esan Marsters
    Centre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Moses Suli
  • Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Mahe Fonua
    Centre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Brian Kelly
  • Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Kevin Naiqama
    Winger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Brad Parker
  • Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Benji Marshall
    Five-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Dylan Walker
  • Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke Brooks
    Halfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-Evans

Forwards

  • Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 Russell Packer
    Prop for Sea Eagles is number 8 Addin Fonua-Blake
  • Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Robbie Farah
    Hooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Manase Fainu
  • Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 Ben Matulino
    Prop for Sea Eagles is number 12 Shaun Lane
  • 2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Chris Lawrence
    2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Joel Thompson
  • 2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Michael Chee-Kam
    2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 16 Jack Gosiewski
  • Lock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Matthew Eisenhuth
    Lock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake Trbojevic

Interchange

  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Alex Twal
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin Taupau
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Sauaso Sue
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Trent Hodkinson
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Josh Aloiai
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Kelepi Tanginoa
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 18 Jacob Liddle
    Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 19 Matthew Wright

Match Officials

  • Referee: Matt Cecchin
  • Referee: Alan Shortall
  • Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
  • Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
  • Video Referee: Ben Galea
  • Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy

Last updated:

Elijah Taylor is out for Wests Tigers, with Matt Eisenhuth shifting to lock and Chris Lawrence to the back row, while Alex Twal and Josh Aloiai also return to the interchange bench. Jacob Liddle is a late inclusion in place of Luke Garner, while Manly have confirmed a number of late changes with Shaun Lane starting at prop and Jack Gosieski moving to the back row. Martin Taupau drops back to the bench while Matthew Wright is a late inclusion in jersey 19 — replacing Lloyd Perrett in the final squad.

 

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Overall — Played 27, Wests Tigers 11, Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 15, Drawn 1

At Campbelltown Sports Stadium — Played 1, Wests Tigers 0, Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 1

Last Time They Met — Wests Tigers 38 def. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 12 (Rd.6, 2018)

 

MATCH OFFICIALS

Match Referees —  Matt Cecchin and Alan Shortall

Touch Judges — Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski and Belinda Sleeman

Review Officials — Ben Galea and Steve Chiddy