Oliver Clark will become Wests Tigers Player #224 after being named by Coach Michael Maguire to make his first-grade debut in Friday's Round 9 clash against the Penrith Panthers.

Clark has been named on the bench for his NRL debut after impressing in his first full season with Wests Tigers, having joined the club midway through the season last year after an immediate switch from this week's opponents, Penrith.

A Quakers Hill junior, Clark is a powerful prop who has featured in numerous junior representative sides for New South Wales already in his short career, and will add plenty to the Wests Tigers engine room this week against the Panthers.

Clark's inclusion comes in place of Josh Aloiai, who is sidelined this week.

After a disappointing defeat to the Sydney Roosters in Round 8, Wests Tigers have also been boosted by the inclusion of Benji Marshall at five-eighth after the playmaker was a late omission last week. Marshall has not featured since picking up a hamstring injury in Round 3, but is expected to play this week alongside Luke Brooks in the halves in what will be his 293rd first-grade appearance.

Benji Marshall in action for Wests Tigers against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
Benji Marshall in action for Wests Tigers against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.

Matt Eisenhuth starts his first game of the year after coming off the bench in the last five games, with Elijah Taylor dropping back to the reserves in jersey 19.

Taylor is joined on the reserves by Paul Momirovski and Russell Packer — who both featured for the club's Canterbury Cup side last week — along with Michael Chee Kam, who is available for selection again after serving a two-game suspension.

Jacob Liddle retains his place on the bench after a strong return to the NRL arena last week, with the hooker impressing in limited minutes against the Roosters.


There's plenty of big team news on the other side of the ball with Penrith plagued by injuries and suspensions from their Round 8 defeat to the Canberra Raiders.

Star forward Viliame Kikau (ankle) has been named among the reserves and could be a shock late inclusion but his place in the pack has been taken by Frank Winterstein, who himself returns from a knee injury picked up back in Round 4.

Dean Whare is back early from a hamstring injury in the centres allowing Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to go back to the wing and fill the hole left by his brother Malakai's absence with a rib injury. Reagan Campbell-Gillard has been promoted to the starting side and Hame Sele is in at lock with Liam Martin suspended.

Five-eighth James Maloney will play on Friday after successfully beating his Dangerous Contact charge at the NRL Judiciary on Tuesday night.

Wests Tigers will travel to Brisbane tomorrow ahead of Friday's Magic Round clash against the Panthers, and will provide an updated 19-man squad 24 hours before kickoff (6:00pm, Thursday). Final 17-man team lists for both sides will then be announced one hour before the Round 9 clash at Suncorp Stadium.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Moses Mbye
    Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Caleb Aekins
  • Winger for Wests Tigers is number 2 Mahe Fonua
    Winger for Panthers is number 2 Josh Mansour
  • Centre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Robert Jennings
    Centre for Panthers is number 3 Dean Whare
  • Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Esan Marsters
    Centre for Panthers is number 15 Tyrell Fuimaono
  • Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Corey Thompson
    Winger for Panthers is number 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
  • Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Benji Marshall
    Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 James Maloney
  • Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke Brooks
    Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary

Forwards

  • Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 Ben Matulino
    Prop for Panthers is number 8 James Tamou
  • Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Robbie Farah
    Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Wayde Egan
  • Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 Alex Twal
    Prop for Panthers is number 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
  • 2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Ryan Matterson
    2nd Row for Panthers is number 21 Viliame Kikau
  • 2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Chris McQueen
    2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 James Fisher-Harris
  • Lock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Matthew Eisenhuth
    Lock for Panthers is number 19 Kaide Ellis

Interchange

  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Jacob Liddle
    Interchange for Panthers is number 14 Sione Katoa
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Thomas Mikaele
    Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Moses Leota
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Oliver Clark
    Interchange for Panthers is number 17 Tim Grant
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 20 Michael Chee-Kam
    Interchange for Panthers is number 18 Jarome Luai