Wests Tigers will be looking to keep their finals hopes alive this Saturday afternoon as they take on the Newcastle Knights at Campbelltown Sports Stadium in a must-win contest.
Coming off a run of back-to-back defeats, Michael Maguire's side will be desperate to bounce back in front of their home fans at Campbelltown for the final time this season against a Knights side also playing for their slim finals hopes.
The loser of Saturday's match will theoretically be out of the top eight picture, while the other will take a giant step forward in their bid to play September footy.
Struck down by injury in recent weeks, Wests Tigers will welcome back Josh Reynolds for his first NRL game since Round 7 with the lively playmaker set to feature at hooker for the first time since the end of the 2011 season.
Reynolds slots in to the hooking role with Robbie Farah (tibia) and Jacob Liddle (knee) both sidelined, and Maguire will be hoping the former Origin winner adds plenty of spark to his side after a disappointing result last weekend.
In addition to Farah and Liddle, Wests Tigers will also be without captain Moses Mbye for another week with the 26-year-old still sidelined with a hip flexor injury. Benji Marshall will captain the side once again with Mbye sidelined.
Reynolds excited to be back in NRL
After a strong performance for the club's Canterbury Cup side last weekend, Robert Jennings returns on the wing for his first NRL game since Round 17 — pushing Paul Momirovski in to the centres and last week's debutant Tommy Talau to the reserves.
Following his one-game suspension last week, Luke Garner has been named to return in the back row with Chris Lawrence also retaining his starting spot. With Ryan Matterson named at lock, Michael Chee Kam shifts back to the bench.
Thomas Mikaele also returns to the run-on side after a late switch with Matt Eisenhuth last weekend, with the Goodna Eagles junior to start at prop.
For the visitors, Coach Nathan Brown has been forced in to some changes as well this week with Connor Watson ruled out due to a knee injury.
His omission sees Danny Levi return at hooker while, in the outside backs, Hymel Hunt shifts to centre and Sione Mata'utia goes to the wing.
Bradman Best will make his first-grade debut in place of Tautau Moga (hamstring) while Tim Glasby also returns from concussion via the bench.
Wests Tigers scored a crucial 28-26 win when the two sides met just four weeks ago in Newcastle and will be looking to make it three wins in a row against the Knights, having lost just one of the last five meetings between the two sides.
The hosts also hold a good record over the Knights at Campbelltown Sports Stadium, who have won just twice at the suburban ground since 2001.
NRL.com preview Knights clash
Date — Saturday, August 24
Time — 5:30pm AEST
Venue — Campbelltown Sports Stadium (Rose Payten Drive, Leumeah)
TV, RADIO, LIVE STREAM INFORMATION
TV — Live via FOX League (Ch.502)
Radio — AM 702 ABC Grandstand and AM 873 2GB
Live Stream — Foxtel Go, KAYO, NRL Digital Pass, and Watch NRL (int.)
LATEST TEAM NEWS
Wests Tigers — No changes expected for Wests Tigers.
Newcastle Knights — Bradman Best will debut at centre in place of Tautau Moga while Tim Glasby returns from concussion via the bench, taking the place of Kurt Mann. Danny Levi starts at hooker with Connor Watson not named.
Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Corey ThompsonFullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 2 Robert JenningsWinger for Knights is number 2 Hymel Hunt
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Paul MomirovskiCentre for Knights is number 3 Sione Mata'utia
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Esan MarstersCentre for Knights is number 20 Bradman Best
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 David NofoalumaWinger for Knights is number 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall
Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Benji MarshallFive-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Mason Lino
Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke BrooksHalfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell Pearce
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 Thomas MikaeleProp for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 13 Ryan MattersonHooker for Knights is number 9 Danny Levi
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 Oliver ClarkProp for Knights is number 10 Daniel Saifiti
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Luke Garner2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Chris Lawrence2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Mitchell Barnett
Lock for Wests Tigers is number 14 Matthew EisenhuthLock for Knights is number 21 Tim Glasby
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 9 Josh ReynoldsInterchange for Knights is number 13 Josh King
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Elijah TaylorInterchange for Knights is number 15 Herman Ese'ese
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Alex TwalInterchange for Knights is number 16 Jacob Saifiti
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Michael Chee-KamInterchange for Knights is number 17 Aidan Guerra
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Referee: Jon Stone
- Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell
LATEST NEDS ODDS
H2H — Wests Tigers ($2.00), Newcastle Knights ($1.80)
Line — Wests Tigers +1.5 ($1.90), Newcastle Knights -1.5 ($1.90)
Odds correct as of Wednesday, August 21 — 18+ only and gamble responsibly.
Overall — Played 28, Wests Tigers 14, Newcastle 14
At Campbelltown Sports Stadium — Played 9, Wests Tigers 6, Newcastle 3
Last Time They Met — Wests Tigers 28 def. Newcastle Knights 26 (Rd.19, 2019)
Match Referees — Adam Gee and Jon Stone
Touch Judges — Adam Cassidy and Rickey McFarlane
Review Officials — Ben Lowe and Jared Maxwell