Wests Tigers head to the Northern Beaches tonight looking to keep their season alive against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles after a disappointing defeat against the Bulldogs last week.
On the back of two good wins to put them back in top eight calculations, Michael Maguire's side were dealt a triple blow last week when injuries to Robbie Farah (tibia) and Moses Mbye (hip flexor) ended in a heartbreaking 18-16 loss to the Bulldogs — dropping Wests Tigers back to tenth on the competition ladder.
Farah and Mbye aren't named this week and it'll be the youth of Wests Tigers that is called upon to get the job done against Manly with youngsters Jacob Liddle, Tommy Talau, Oliver Clark and Thomas Mikaele all set to star the contest with the likes of Farah, Mbye, Ben Matulino, Russell Packer and Josh Aloiai all unavailable.
For Liddle, it's the first time the crafty rake has started in the number nine this jersey, with the Wyong Roos junior getting his shot at the position perhaps sooner than many had expected given Farah's good form and retirement at the end of 2019.
Liddle has won the past two games he has started at hooker, however, including his side's thrashing of the Sea Eagles at Lottoland last year where he also scored a try.
Aside from last year's win, Wests Tigers' record over on the Northern Beaches doesn't make for great viewing — they've won just twice there since 2000 — while Manly hold a formidable 7-3 record when playing at home this year.
Des Hasler's side will be kicking themselves last week after they missed a chance to move in to the top four with a tight defeat to the New Zealand Warriors.
Still, the Silvertails are well on their way to September footy as they currently hold down fifth position with their last big defeat coming way back in Round 11. Since then, Manly have gone on a good run of six wins from nine matches with all three losses decided by 10 points or less, and they'll be hoping to continue that tonight.
The hosts do have a few minor injury concerns with Brad Parker (knee) and Curtis Sironen (hamstring) both missing, but captan Daly Cherry-Evans will play despite doubts around a knee complaint picked up across the Tasman.
Playing in the first game of the round, a win for Wests Tigers could see the visitors jump all the way to seventh and they'll be hoping for a similar result to their season opener this year when they strolled to a convincing 20-6 win over Manly.
Conversely, the Sea Eagles could move in to the top four should they secure a win.
NRL.com preview Sea Eagles clash
Date — Thursday, August 15
Time — 7:55pm AEST
Venue — Lottoland (Brookvale)
TV, RADIO, LIVE STREAM INFORMATION
TV — Live via FOX League (Ch.502) and Channel 9
Radio — AM 702 ABC Grandstand and FM 104.9 Triple M
Live Stream — Foxtel Go, 9NOW, KAYO, NRL Digital Pass, and Watch NRL (int.)
LATEST TEAM NEWS
Sea Eagles — Brad Parker (knee) and Curtis Sironen (hamstring) are replaced by Brendan Elliott and Jack Gosiewski with no late changes expected.
Wests Tigers — Jacob Liddle starts at hooker in place of Robbie Farah while Moses Mbye's injury sees Tommy Talau called in to the side for his NRL debut. Luke Garner's one-game suspension by the Judiciary sees Chris Lawrence return to the back row with Chris McQueen in to the team for the first time since Round 11.
Match: Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers
Round 22 -
Venue: Lottoland, Sydney
Fullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Tom TrbojevicFullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Corey Thompson
Winger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jorge TaufuaWinger for Wests Tigers is number 2 Paul Momirovski
Centre for Sea Eagles is number 3 Brendan ElliotCentre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Tommy Talau
Centre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Moses SuliCentre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Esan Marsters
Winger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Reuben GarrickWinger for Wests Tigers is number 5 David Nofoaluma
Five-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 6 Dylan WalkerFive-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Benji Marshall
Halfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-EvansHalfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke Brooks
Prop for Sea Eagles is number 8 Addin Fonua-BlakeProp for Wests Tigers is number 10 Oliver Clark
Hooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Apisai KoroisauHooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Jacob Liddle
Prop for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin TaupauProp for Wests Tigers is number 14 Matthew Eisenhuth
2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Joel Thompson2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Michael Chee-Kam
2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Jack Gosiewski2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 17 Chris Lawrence
Lock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake TrbojevicLock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Ryan Matterson
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Manase FainuInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 8 Thomas Mikaele
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Corey WaddellInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Elijah Taylor
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 16 Morgan BoyleInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Alex Twal
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 17 Taniela PasekaInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 20 Chris McQueen
LATEST NEDS ODDS
H2H — Manly-Warringah ($1.30), Wests Tigers ($3.50)
Line — Manly-Warringah -9.5 ($1.90), Wests Tigers +9.5 ($1.90)
Overall — Played 29, Wests Tigers 13, Manly-Warringah 15, Drawn 1
At Lottoland — Played 10, Wests Tigers 2, Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 8
Last Time They Met — Wests Tigers 20 def. Manly-Warringah 4 (Rd.1, 2019)
Match Referees — Gerard Sutton and Chris Buttler
Touch Judges — Todd Smith and Rickey McFarlane
Review Officials — Ben Lowe and Steve Chiddy