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Early team news for Round 13

It's all set up for an intriguing clash this Friday night as Wests Tigers host the undefeated Penrith Panthers at Leichhardt Oval in a match that could see both sides with a number of team changes.

With seven Panthers players selected for State of Origin duties and prop Moses Leota unavailable due to suspension, the visitors will field a very different side to the one that got the job done against the Bulldogs for their twelfth straight win.

Halves Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai, winger Brian To'o, hooker Apisai Koroisau plus forwards Isaah Yeo, Kurt Capewell, Liam Martin were all included in the respective New South Wales and Queensland squads, meaning mass changes are expected when the team lists are revealed at 4:00pm on Tuesday.

Fullback Dylan Edwards is expected to return from injury, which would see Stephen Crichton shift back to the centres and Matt Burton to five-eighth, while Tyrone May could also move into the halves as cover for the Dally M-leading Cleary.

Taylan May and Robert Jennings could start on the wing in place of To'o while Mitch Kenny is the ready-made replacement for Koroisau at hooker.

Up front, Spencer Leinu and former Wests Tigers forward Matt Eisenhuth could both start with Leota out suspended and Kiwis star James Fisher-Harris potentially moving to lock, while Izack Tago or Scott Sorensen could start in the back row.

While relatively unscathed compared to the visitors, Wests Tigers still have a number of intriguing question marks over Friday's team with Joe Ofahengaue selected for the Maroons and Luciano Leilua facing a one-game ban.

Leilua will front the judiciary on Tuesday night after entering a not guilty plea to his Grade One Shoulder Charge offence. If found guilty, he will miss Friday's game — meaning a potential start for Shawn Blore or Michael Chee Kam — while a not guilty verdict would allow him to take his regular position in the back row.

With Ofahengaue away on Origin duties, Alex Twal could start at lock as he did for the opening seven rounds of the year, which would open up the door for Thomas Mikaele, Tom Amone or Alex Seyfarth to potentially start at prop.

Stefano Utoikamanu and Jake Simpkin were both named in last week's 21-man squad before dropping out to play in the NSW Cup side, where they, along with Tuki Simpkins and Kiah Cooper, performed strongly against the Dragons.

After sitting out last week's win over the Dragons with concussion, Joey Leilua is expected to be available for selection this week and will be in consideration after having a hand in a try in each of last four matches this year.

Wests Tigers and Penrith will name their 21-man squads for Friday's game at 4:00pm AEST on Tuesday before providing an updated 19-man squad on Thursday night. Final team lists will then be confirmed an hour prior to kickoff.


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