Wests Tigers Life Members Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence will each play their 250th game for the club this Saturday against the Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The pair will become just the second and third players respectively in Wests Tigers history to reach the milestone — with Robbie Farah (277 games) the other — and also currently sit atop the club’s all-time top try-scorers list with 84 tries each for Wests Tigers.
Marshall will start in the number seven jersey alongside Luke Brooks, with the local junior recalled to the starting side having spent the past three weeks coming off the bench. Brooks’ inclusion isn’t the only change in the spine from last week’s side, with a knee injury to Harry Grant seeing co-captain Moses Mbye shift to the number nine jersey.
Joseph Leilua and Russell Packer both return from suspension and take their place in the run-on side, while new recruit Asu “AJ” Kepaoa has been named to make his NRL debut on the wing.
Sam McIntyre earns a promotion to the starting side and has been named to start in the back row, with Lawrence shifting from the centres to the bench alongside fellow forwards Shawn Blore, Thomas Mikaele and utility Billy Walters.
Matt Eisenhuth also returns from a knee injury and replaces Alex Twal at lock, who is out with a minor rib complaint.
For the Knights, star centre Bradman Best (ankle) and Tautau Moga are both out of the backline while Pasami Saulo (suspension) will also miss the clash.
New recruit Blake Green starts at five-eighth, allowing Kurt Mann to shift to hooker in place of Chris Randall, while Gehamat Shibasaki and Star Toa are both the included — the latter of whom starts on the wing with Enari Tuala shifting in.
Rookie forward Brodie Jones replaces the suspended Saulo on the bench.
Wests Tigers went down 42-24 to Newcastle when they met back in Round 2 earlier this year, but hold a good recent head-to-head record against the Knights having won five of the last seven games between the two sides — including their last three games at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn PongaFullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Adam Doueihi
Winger for Knights is number 2 Starford To'aWinger for Wests Tigers is number 2 David Nofoaluma
Centre for Knights is number 3 Enari TualaCentre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Joseph Leilua
Centre for Knights is number 4 Gehamat ShibasakiCentre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Tommy Talau
Winger for Knights is number 5 Hymel HuntWinger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Asu Kepaoa
Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Blake GreenFive-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Luke Brooks
Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell PearceHalfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Benji Marshall
Prop for Knights is number 8 David KlemmerProp for Wests Tigers is number 8 Josh Aloiai
Hooker for Knights is number 9 Kurt MannHooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Moses Mbye
Prop for Knights is number 10 Jacob SaifitiProp for Wests Tigers is number 10 Russell Packer
2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Luciano Leilua
2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Aidan Guerra2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 16 Chris Lawrence
Lock for Knights is number 13 Mitchell BarnettLock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Matthew Eisenhuth
Interchange for Knights is number 14 Phoenix CrosslandInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 12 Sam McIntyre
Interchange for Knights is number 15 Josh KingInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Thomas Mikaele
Interchange for Knights is number 16 Herman Ese'eseInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Shawn Blore
Interchange for Knights is number 17 Brodie JonesInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Billy Walters
- Referee: Matt Cecchin
- Touch Judge: Dave Munro
- Touch Judge: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
- Video Referee: Ben Lowe
- Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell