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Friday Focus: Round 20 vs Knights

Five weeks after breaking his jaw on the Gold Coast, Api Koroisau is set to make his return to the field in tonight’s clash against the Newcastle Knights.

English import John Bateman took over the captaincy in Koroisau’s absence and has led his side with inspired efforts at both ends of the park.

After a two-week stint at lock, Bateman returned to the second row against the Sharks and will now be tasked with containing Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Newcastle’s potent left edge. 

Ahead of Friday night's clash, we’re diving deeper into the stats for the two backrowers set to do battle at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Since making the move back to Australia in the off-season, John Bateman has endeared himself to the Wests Tigers faithful with whole-hearted efforts on both sides of the ball.

In his four weeks as skipper, Bateman made 189 tackles and now sits comfortably within the top twenty players in the competition for tackles per game.

Bateman’s defensive capabilities were on full display at CommBank Stadium last week, where he didn’t miss a single tackle on his way to accumulating a team high of 49.

With ball in hand, the Northern Englishman has proven that he is not afraid to free the arm and currently sits 21st in the league for average offloads as he attempts to spark the Wests Tigers attack.

On the other side of the park, Lachlan Fitzgibbon will be riding high following one of the finest performances of his nine-year career in Newcastle’s 66-0 drubbing of the Bulldogs.

Fitzgibbon accumulated 159 running metres and scored his fourth try of the season by receiving a short pass from Phoenix Crossland and powering past rookie Khaled Rajab.

The South Newcastle Lions junior can be just as damaging without the ball, with his decoy runs creating space for the damaging Bradman Best and Greg Marzhew to operate on his outside.

With Fitzgibbon set to depart the Knights at the end of the year, he’ll be looking to get the home side over the line in his tenth and final appearance against the Wests Tigers.

Acknowledgement of Country

Wests Tigers respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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