Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire is excited for his team to play in front of a packed house at Leichhardt Oval against the undefeated ladder leaders.
Despite the fixture being State of Origin affected, a sold-out crowd is expected for Friday night’s clash against the Penrith Panthers as Wests Tigers look to build on last week’s impressive performance against the Dragons.
“It’s great to go to Leichhardt and see a packed crowd and we want to show our fans what we’re capable of doing,” Maguire said.
“The players are focused on putting in a good performance.
“It’s a great crowd at Leichhardt. You watch them on a Friday night, walk up to the ground and then have a few beers up on the hill — they get behind the game.”
Although Penrith will be missing eight key players through Origin commitments and suspension, Maguire is expecting a physical encounter on Friday night and said his team will need to rise against the in-form Panthers.
Wests Tigers are yet to claim back-to-back wins in 2021, but Maguire is confident his team can match it with their opponents, as they look to become the first team to upset Penrith this season.
“We all know what Penrith are capable of,” Maguire said.
“It’s about what we need to do. We need to turn up in the right frame of mind.
NRL.com preview Panthers clash
“The boys have been in good spirits after what we did last week [against the Dragons]. It’s about taking the same mindset into what we’re doing this week.
“Penrith are a quality team across the park. They’ve still got plenty of first-graders. We’re aware of what we need to do.”
Wests Tigers were boosted with forward Luciano Leilua escaping suspension after beating a shoulder charge offence at the judiciary on Tuesday night, while Alex Seyfarth has won a starting position in Maguire’s line-up with Joe Ofahengaue on Origin duties.
“To get Luc off brings a great one to us,” the coach said.
“Alex Seyfarth will start because he’s been playing well — that’s great for him.
“I’m really proud of ‘Joffa’ [Ofahengaue]. For him to come down from Brisbane and bring his beautiful family down — and he’s worked really hard. He’s bought into everything the Wests Tigers are about. To see him in State of Origin is pleasing for all of us.”
Match: Wests Tigers v Panthers
Round 13 -
Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney