Wests Tigers will be looking to return to the winners circle this Friday night when they take on the Penrith Panthers as part of the first ever NRL Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium.
Coming off a heavy defeat to the Sydney Roosters in Round 8, Michael Maguire's side will be looking to return to the top eight against a Panthers side themselves coming off a disappointing loss to the Canberra Raiders in Wagga Wagga.
Off the back of their 18-point defeat, Penrith will field a vastly different side against Wests Tigers with Isaah Yeo (shoulder), Malakai Watene-Zelezniak (rib), Liam Martin (suspension), Waqa Blake (disciplinary) and Hame Sele (back) all out.
The Panthers will see Viliame Kikau included, however, after the Fijian international was cleared to play despite picking up a knock in last week's loss.
Originally sidelined for a week due to suspension, James Maloney will play after fronting the Judiciary on Tuesday night and successfully overturning his ban.
For Wests Tigers, Maguire has turned to a new face in Oliver Clark with the young forward set to make his NRL debut on the night. Clark has been named on the bench in place of Josh Aloiai — who picked up a concussion late on against the Roosters last week — while Matt Eisenhuth moves in to the starting side at lock.
NRL.com preview Magic Round clash with Panthers
Benji Marshall will return at five-eighth after missing the last month with a hamstring injury; his inclusion in the halves alongside Luke Brooks is certainly a boost for Wests Tigers who remain without Josh Reynolds (knee). Luke Garner was also a late omission for the side, with Elijah Taylor included on the bench.
While both sides are reeling from disappointing defeats last week, Penrith do hold a good head-to-head record between the two sides with five wins from their last five matchups, including a Golden Point thriller when the two met earlier this year.
Friday's game is the first meeting between the two sides of Sydney, with Wests Tigers already recording a win at Suncorp Stadium earlier this year. Penrith, however, have won just three games in Brisbane since 2004.
Date — Friday, May 10, 2019
Time — 6:00pm AEST
Venue — Suncorp Stadium
TV, RADIO AND LIVE STREAM INFORMATION
TV — Live via FOX League (Ch.502)
Radio — AM 702 ABC Grandstand, FM 104.9 Triple M, NRL Nation
Live Stream — Foxtel Go, KAYO, NRL Digital Pass, Watch NRL (int.)
LATEST TEAM NEWS
Wests Tigers — A return for Benji Marshall with Ryan Matterson shifting back to the edge. Matt Eisenhuth at lock, while Josh Aloiai's omission sees Oliver Clark make his NRL debut. Jacob Liddle retains his spot on the bench.
Penrith Panthers — There is a possibility of late inclusion with Viliame Kikau, but for now, Frank Winterstein starts in his place in the back row. Tyrell Fuimaono is in to the side in place of Dean Whare while Sione Katoa shifts to lock with Jarome Luai and Kaide Ellis included — for now — as the new faces on the bench.
Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Moses MbyeFullback for Panthers is number 1 Caleb Aekins
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 2 Mahe FonuaWinger for Panthers is number 2 Josh Mansour
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Robert JenningsCentre for Panthers is number 3 Dean Whare
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Esan MarstersCentre for Panthers is number 15 Tyrell Fuimaono
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Corey ThompsonWinger for Panthers is number 5 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Benji MarshallFive-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 James Maloney
Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke BrooksHalfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 Ben MatulinoProp for Panthers is number 8 James Tamou
Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Robbie FarahHooker for Panthers is number 9 Wayde Egan
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 Alex TwalProp for Panthers is number 10 Reagan Campbell-Gillard
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Ryan Matterson2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 James Fisher-Harris
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Chris McQueen2nd Row for Panthers is number 21 Viliame Kikau
Lock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Matthew EisenhuthLock for Panthers is number 19 Kaide Ellis
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Jacob LiddleInterchange for Panthers is number 14 Sione Katoa
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Thomas MikaeleInterchange for Panthers is number 16 Moses Leota
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Oliver ClarkInterchange for Panthers is number 17 Tim Grant
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 20 Michael Chee-KamInterchange for Panthers is number 18 Jarome Luai
H2H — Wests Tigers ($1.84), Penrith Panthers ($2.00)
Line — Wests Tigers -1.5 ($1.90), Penrith Panthers +1.5 ($1.90)
Odds correct on Friday, May 10 at 10:00am — 18+ only and gamble responsibly
Overall — Played 33, Panthers 21, Wests Tigers 12
Last Time They Met — Penrith Panthers 9 def. Wests Tigers 8 (Rd.4, 2019)
Match Referees — Chris Sutton and Chris Butler
Touch Judges — Clayton Sharpe and Nick Morel
Review Officials — Beau Scott and Jared Maxwell
Maguire gives final word ahead of Panthers clash