After 24 rounds of regular season, Wests Tigers finals hopes come down to a Sunday afternoon at Leichhardt Oval with a winner-takes-all clash against the Cronulla Sharks.
The scene is set, with a sold-out crowd to pour in to the suburban venue as the two sides battle it our to try and keep their top eight hopes alive.
Sunday's clash between the ninth-placed Wests Tigers and the eighth-placed Sharks is remarkably the first meeting between the two sides this year, with the result to determine the make-up of the 2019 Telstra Premiership finals series.
Wests Tigers head in to this week's game full of confidence and well-prepared for sudden death football, having secured big wins over the Knights and Dragons in recent weeks — both matches they went in to knowing they had to win.
Meanwhile, Cronulla let slip a golden chance to get two points last week when they led a 12-0 lead at home against the Raiders go to the wayside — the Green Machine storming back to clinch victory in Golden Point.
The do-or-die showdown is set to hold milestones, records, farewells and news-worthy highlights as Wests Tigers look to remain undefeated at Leichhardt Oval in 2019 having downed the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (Round 1) and North Queensland Cowboys (Round 20) earlier this year.
Wests Tigers have not won all games at Leichhardt in a single season since 2010.
Josh Reynolds to play 150th NRL game
Wests Tigers playmaker Josh Reynolds has been named at hooker for what will be his 150th NRL game this Sunday with Maguire listing the same team that got the job done over the past fortnight. The 30-year-old will bring up the milestone in his 12th game for Wests Tigers, but all eyes are on the reserves list for the hosts this week with Robbie Farah (fractured tibia) a chance of making an 11th hour return.
Farah — who trained with the squad throughout the week — was retained in the updated squad by Maguire, with a final decision to be made just before kickoff.
Captain Moses Mbye won't return from injury, however, with Benji Marshall to captain the side after a Man of the Match performance against the Dragons.
For the Sharks, Coach John Morris has named Kiwi playmaker Shaun Johnson to start at five-eighth after being a late omission in the warm-up last week.
His inclusion sees Kyle Flanagan drop back to the reserves, who was also retained as cover in the 19-man squad in case of another late withdrawal.
Playmaker Matt Moylan was a confirmed out on Saturday by Morris, with Josh Dugan to start at fullback after being cleared from concussion last week. Sosaia Feki returns on the wing in place of Sione Katoa.
NRL.com preview Sharks clash
The only other change for the Sharks is forward Jack Williams, who comes into the side in place of the experienced Jayson Bukuya who drops out of the squad.
Historically, the Sharks have done well in recent times against Wests Tigers with five straight wins but their record isn't as good at the suburban venue.
Cronulla have won just three of their past eight games at Leichhardt Oval.
Who wins an NRL Finals spot?
Date — Sunday, September 8, 2019
Time — 2:00pm AEST
Venue — Leichhardt Oval
TV, RADIO and LIVE STREAM INFORMATION
TV — Live via Fox League (Ch.502)
Radio — AM 702 ABC Grandstand, AM 873 2GB
Live Stream — Foxtel Go, KAYO, NRL Digital Pass and Watch NRL (int.)
LATEST TEAM NEWS
Wests Tigers — Unchanged from last week with Josh Reynolds listed at hooker. Robbie Farah could be a late inclusion after being retained in the reserves.
Cronulla Sharks — Shaun Johnson has been included in the starting side after a quad injury forced him out of last week's loss to Canberra, while Sosaia Feki (groin) returns on the wing at the expense of Sione Katoa. Matt Moylan won't return from injury, however, with Jack Williams replacing Jason Bukuya on the bench.
Match: Wests Tigers v Sharks
Round 25 -
Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 3 Paul MomirovskiFullback for Sharks is number 1 Josh Dugan
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 2 Robert JenningsWinger for Sharks is number 2 Sosaia Feki
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Esan MarstersCentre for Sharks is number 3 Bronson Xerri
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 17 Michael Chee-KamCentre for Sharks is number 4 Josh Morris
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 David NofoalumaWinger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Benji MarshallFive-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Shaun Johnson
Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke BrooksHalfback for Sharks is number 7 Chad Townsend
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 Thomas MikaeleProp for Sharks is number 10 Matt Prior
Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 13 Ryan MattersonHooker for Sharks is number 9 Jayden Brailey
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 Oliver ClarkProp for Sharks is number 16 Andrew Fifita
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Luke Garner2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Chris Lawrence2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Wade Graham
Lock for Wests Tigers is number 14 Matthew EisenhuthLock for Sharks is number 13 Paul Gallen
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 9 Josh ReynoldsInterchange for Sharks is number 8 Aaron Woods
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Elijah TaylorInterchange for Sharks is number 14 Kurt Capewell
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Alex TwalInterchange for Sharks is number 15 Jack Williams
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 21 Robbie FarahInterchange for Sharks is number 17 Braden Hamlin-Uele
- Referee: Ben Cummins
- Referee: Peter Gough
- Touch Judge: Dave Munro
- Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell
LATEST NEDS ODDS
H2H — Wests Tigers ($2.00), Cronulla ($1.80),
Line — Wests Tigers +1.5 ($1.90), Cronulla -1.5 ($1.90)
Odds correct on Thursday, September 5 — 18+ only and gamble responsibly
Overall — Played 31, Wests Tigers 17, Cronulla 13, Drawn 1
At Leichhardt Oval — Played 9, Wests Tigers 5, Cronulla 3
Last Time They Met — Cronulla 24 def. Wests Tigers 16 (Rd.14, 2018)
Match Referees —Ben Cummins and Peter Gough
Sideline Officials — Nick Beashel and David Munro
Video Referees — Jared Maxwell, Ben Galea