Wests Tigers will be determined to secure the two points on offer this Friday night as they travel up to the Hunter to take on the Newcastle Knights at Beanie for Brain Cancer Stadium.
As the race for finals footy heads up, both teams come in to the game off the back of three consecutive losses — Wests Tigers producing a much better second half before going down 20-12 to the Raiders in Canberra last week while Newcastle were blown away with a blistering second half performance by the defending premiers with a tough 38-point loss against the Sydney Roosters.
Having played every game so far this season, hooker Robbie Farah will become the 39th player in Telstra Premiership history to reach 300 NRL games on Friday night and the second player to reach the milestone wearing Wests Tigers colours.
The other was of course Benji Marshall just two weeks earlier, and Wests Tigers will no doubt be determined to ensure they deliver a much better performance and result than that day when they went down to the Parramatta Eels.
Robbie Farah: The Leichhardt wanderer
Having split the hooking duties with Jacob Liddle for most of the season, Farah looks on track to play 80 minutes on Friday after the youngster was omitted from the squad 24 hours before kickoff. Maguire has instead opted for four forwards on the bench as well a number of changes to the starting side to combat Newcastle's big men, which include three State of Origin representatives in the run-on side.
Young prop Oliver Clark returns to the side for his first game since Round 15 and starts alongside Josh Aloiai, while Luke Garner and Michael Chee Kam form a new-look back row with Ryan Matterson shifting to lock. Alex Twal and Chris Lawrence drop back to the bench, where Thomas Mikaele is also named after passing the necessary concussion protocols following his knock last week.
Corey Thompson also returns at fullback in a boost for the side, with Moses Mbye moving back to the centres. Mbye has never lost against the Knights in his career, with six wins from six matches — the only side he has never lost against.
Having won their past two matches at the venue, Wests Tigers have a good record in Newcastle with seven victories from their last 11 games there.
McDonald Jones Stadium will officially be called Beanie for Brain Cancer Stadium as part of the Beanies for Brain Cancer Round this weekend, which seeks to raise much-needed research funds for the disease via the Mark Hughes Foundation.
The match up will also see the victorious side gain an edge in the all-time head-to-head battle between the two, with currently 13 wins apiece since 2000.
Royce Simmons reflects on Robbie Farah
Date — Friday, July 26, 2019
Time — 6:00 pm AEST
Venue — Beanie for Brain Cancer 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 and NRL Nation
Live Stream — Foxtel Go, KAYO, NRL Digital Pass, and Watch NRL (int.)
LATEST TEAM NEWS
Newcastle Knights — Unchanged from last week's loss to the Sydney Roosters.
Wests Tigers — Corey Thompson returns at fullback, while Oliver Clark and Luke Garner both start in the forwards. Moses Mbye shifts to centre with Michael Chee Kam in the back row and Ryan Matterson at lock — leaving Chris Lawrence, Alex Twal and Thomas Mikaele on the bench. Jacob Liddle was omitted from the side 24 hours before kickoff with Maguire instead preferring four forwards on the bench.
Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn PongaFullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Corey Thompson
Winger for Knights is number 2 Hymel HuntWinger for Wests Tigers is number 2 Paul Momirovski
Centre for Knights is number 3 Tautau MogaCentre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Moses Mbye
Centre for Knights is number 4 Jesse RamienCentre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Esan Marsters
Winger for Knights is number 5 Shaun Kenny-DowallWinger for Wests Tigers is number 5 David Nofoaluma
Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Kurt MannFive-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Benji Marshall
Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell PearceHalfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke Brooks
Prop for Knights is number 8 David KlemmerProp for Wests Tigers is number 8 Josh Aloiai
Hooker for Knights is number 9 Danny LeviHooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Robbie Farah
Prop for Knights is number 10 Daniel SaifitiProp for Wests Tigers is number 10 Oliver Clark
2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Mitchell Barnett2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Luke Garner
2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Sione Mata'utia2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Michael Chee-Kam
Lock for Knights is number 13 Tim GlasbyLock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Ryan Matterson
Interchange for Knights is number 14 Connor WatsonInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Thomas Mikaele
Interchange for Knights is number 15 James GavetInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Alex Twal
Interchange for Knights is number 16 Herman Ese'eseInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Chris Lawrence
Interchange for Knights is number 17 Jamie BuhrerInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 18 Matthew Eisenhuth
LATEST NEDS ODDS
H2H — Newcastle Knights ($1.50), Wests Tigers ($2.55)
Line — Newcastle Knights -5.5 ($1.90), Wests Tigers +5.5 ($1.90)
Odds correct on Thursday, July 25 — 18+ only and gamble responsibly.
NRL.com preview Knights clash
Overall — Played 28, Wests Tigers 13, Newcastle Knights 13, Drawn 2
At McDonald Jones Stadium Stadium — Played 17, Newcastle 9, Wests Tigers 8
Last Time They Met — Wests Tigers 25 def. Newcastle Knights 16 (Rd. 21, 2018)
Match Referees — Henry Perenara and Gavin Badger
Touch Judges — Tim Roby and Kasey Badger
Review Officials — Ashley Klein and Bryan Norrie
Robbie Farah: 300 Games