Wests Tigers will launch their 2021 campaign in the nation’s capital on Sunday afternoon when they take on Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium.
The club will be aiming to extend its Round 1 winning streak to seven in a row, having not lost an opening round encounter since 2014.
A number of key recruits will make their Wests Tigers debuts on Sunday with captain James Tamou, Joe Ofahengaue, James Roberts, Daine Laurie and Stefano Utoikamanu all named in Michael Maguire's side for Round 1.
Sunday’s encounter against the Raiders will coincide with Roberts’ 150th NRL match — and he’ll be eager for an impressive performance as he makes his club debut.
The new recruit, who has settled in well at Wests Tigers, is feeling fresh ahead of the new season and will form a lethal right-side combination with David Nofoaluma.
Tamou excited to lead his new team into round 1
Switching to the left in 2021, Wests Tigers centre Joey Leilua will also be looking forward to his first game at GIO Stadium since departing the Raiders in 2019. After sitting out the final trial game with a minor foot injury, Leilua will return in Round 1 alongside brother Luciano on the left edge with the pair eager to impress.
Moses Mbye returns from injury to partner Luke Brooks in the halves, who himself moves to 149 first-grade games for the club since his debut in 2013.
Garner and Wests Tigers mentally prepared for a successful 2021 season
For Canberra, coach Ricky Stuart will be without forward duo Corey Horsburgh and Corey Harawira-Naera for Round 1 after they both received one-match bans by the NRL — bringing veteran Ryan James into the side for the first time since joining the club from the Gold Coast Titans in the off-season.
England hooker Josh Hodgson has also been named for the first time since injuring his knee in Round 9 last season with Siliva Havili on the bench.
With both clubs locked at 19 wins against each other — and 10 each at GIO Stadium — the winner of the match will go ahead on the historic standings.
Canberra have won six of the last seven games between the two sides.
Date — Sunday, 14th March, 2021
Time — 4:05pm AEDT
Venue — GIO Stadium
1:45pm — Gates Open at GIO Stadium
1:50pm — NSW Cup, Western Suburbs Magpies v Canberra Raiders
4:05pm — NRL, Wests Tigers v Canberra Raiders
TV, RADIO AND LIVE STREAM INFORMATION
TV — Live via Channel 9, FOX League (Ch.502)
Radio — AM 702 ABC Grandstand, FM 104.9 Triple M
Live Stream — Foxtel Go, KAYO, Watch NRL (int.), Sky Sport (NZ only)
LATEST TEAM NEWS
Wests Tigers — No changes for Wests Tigers with Alex Seyfarth and Tuki Simpkins dropping out of the squad. Michael Maguire's side are set to field five club debutants with Daine Laurie, James Roberts, James Tamou, Joe Ofahengaue and Stefano Utoikamanu all named for their first game in Wests Tigers colours.
Canberra Raiders — Canberra are also unchanged from the side named earlier in the week with Sam Williams and Harley Smith-Shields retained in the squad.
Fullback for Raiders is number 1 Charnze Nicoll-KlokstadFullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Daine Laurie
Winger for Raiders is number 2 Bailey SimonssonWinger for Wests Tigers is number 2 David Nofoaluma
Centre for Raiders is number 3 Sebastian KrisCentre for Wests Tigers is number 3 James Roberts
Centre for Raiders is number 4 Curtis ScottCentre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Joseph Leilua
Winger for Raiders is number 5 Jordan RapanaWinger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Asu Kepaoa
Five-Eighth for Raiders is number 6 Jack WightonFive-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Moses Mbye
Halfback for Raiders is number 7 George WilliamsHalfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke Brooks
Prop for Raiders is number 8 Josh PapaliiProp for Wests Tigers is number 8 James Tamou
Hooker for Raiders is number 9 Josh HodgsonHooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Jacob Liddle
Prop for Raiders is number 10 Dunamis LuiProp for Wests Tigers is number 10 Joe Ofahengaue
2nd Row for Raiders is number 11 Hudson Young2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Luke Garner
2nd Row for Raiders is number 12 Elliott Whitehead2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Luciano Leilua
Lock for Raiders is number 13 Joseph TapineLock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Alex Twal
Interchange for Raiders is number 14 Siliva HaviliInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Tommy Talau
Interchange for Raiders is number 15 Ryan SuttonInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Thomas Mikaele
Interchange for Raiders is number 16 Iosia SoliolaInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Stefano Utoikamanu
Interchange for Raiders is number 17 Ryan JamesInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Russell Packer
- Referee: Gerard Sutton
- Touch Judge: Dave Munro
- Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
- Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein
LATEST NEDS ODDS
H2H — Wests Tigers ($3.50), Canberra Raiders ($1.30)
Line — Wests Tigers (+9.5) $2.00, Canberra Raiders (-9.5) $2.00
Head-to-Head — Played 38, Canberra Raiders 19, Wests Tigers 19
At GIO Stadium — Played 20, Canberra Raiders 10, Wests Tigers 10
Last Time They Met — Canberra Raiders 14 def. Wests Tigers 6 (Rd 5, 2020)
Referee — Gerard Sutton
Touch Judges — David Munro & Drew Oultram
Review Official — Ashley Klein