Wests Tigers Coach Michael Maguire is again set to welcome back a number of new faces in to the selection mix for Saturday's must-win game against the Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium.
After welcoming back Alex Twal, Luke Garner and Thomas Mikaele in last week's tight loss to the New Zealand Warriors, Maguire will again have a handful of new players to call upon this week with Samoan international Joey Leilua (four matches) and Russell Packer (one match) both returning from suspension.
Despite the good form of Chris Lawrence since shifting to the centres, Leilua would appear likely to slot straight in to his usual right centre spot inside David Nofoaluma, with Lawrence potentially moving in to the forward rotation for what would be his 250th NRL game for the club since his debut as a teenager back in 2006.
Press Conference: Luke Brooks
Michael Chee Kam could be another face in the mix for selection this week following his recovery from a serious head knock sustained back in Round 11.
Maguire commented last week that the 28-year-old "should be all right" for this week's clash, although was firm in the notion that he wouldn't rush his return.
Matt Eisenhuth is also closing in after sitting out last week with a minor knee complaint, while Jacob Liddle continues to make progress — returning to full team training in the past fortnight as part of an extensive knee rehabilitation.
Press Conference: Alex Twal
The news is not as good on the injury front for Newcastle, who could be without strike centre Bradman Best following a foot injury he picked up against Melbourne.
According to the Daily Telegraph, both Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Chris Randall also suffered head knocks in the loss — with the pair most likely in some doubt given the six-day turnaround — but could welcome back Daniel Saifiti from injury.
Sione Mata'utia (knee), Andrew McCullough (hamstring), Connor Watson (achilles), Edrick Lee (arm), Tim Glasby (concussion) and Jayden Brailey (knee) all remain sidelined for the Knights, who are looking for their first win at home since Round 1.
Both sides will name their 21-man squads on Tuesday at 4:00pm before providing updated 19-man team lists at 5:30pm on Friday afternoon. Final team lists will then be confirmed one hour prior to kickoff (4:30pm, Saturday).
Match: Knights v Wests Tigers
Round 13 -
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle