After back-to-back wooden spoon seasons for the Wests Tigers, it's over to Benji Marshall now to try and lift the struggling club from the cellar in 2024.
The new campaign will start in Round 2 for the joint venture, with a Round 1 bye being followed by a trip to Canberra to face the Raiders, before Marshall returns to familiar territory at Leichhardt Oval for a clash with the Sharks.
Teams they play twice
No teams who finished in the top four last season appear twice on their schedule, with the Knights (fifth) the highest-ranked opponent Wests Tigers face in a home and away format in 2024. They'll see fellow bottom-eight sides from last year, the Eels, Dolphins, Dragons, Rabbitohs and Cowboys twice, along with the Raiders and Sharks.
Teams they play once
Just one game against each of last year's grand finalists, but they come in consecutive weeks in Round 7 and 8. The Bulldogs, Titans, Storm, Roosters, Warriors and Sea Eagles are the other teams they encounter just once in 2024.
- Thursday: 2 games (2 home, 0 away)
- Friday: 5 games (1 home, 4 away)
- Saturday: 11 games (6 home, 5 away)
- Sunday: 5 games (3 home, 2 away)
- Monday: 1 game (0 home, 1 away)
- 5 days: 3 games
- 6 days: 6 games
- 7+ days: 14 games
Being one of the four teams who have three instances of five-day turnarounds is a challenge, while they have only 14 games with at least a week of recovery time between hit-outs as well. Two of their five-day turnarounds come with travel involved as they head north to face the Dolphins in Brisbane in Round 5 after playing on Monday in Round 4 at CommBank. And they face the Cowboys in Townsville in Round 12 five days after their Magic Round clash in Brisbane. Their third short turnaround comes in between home games at Campbelltown and Leichhardt in Round 24 and 25 respectively.
- Round 1: BYE
- Round 2: v Raiders (A)
- Round 3: v Sharks (H)
- Round 4: v Eels (A)
With the bye in Round 1, Benji Marshall's coaching career will officially begin in Round 2 with an away trip to face the Raiders in Canberra before returning back to Sydney to face the Sharks at Leichhardt Oval. That is followed by their annual Easter Monday clash against the Eels – which this time is a Parramatta home game at CommBank Stadium.
Wests Tigers will operate as the closing act for Magic Round in 2024 when they take on the Dolphins in the final game on Sunday. It's a Wests Tigers home game and comes after they earned one of their four wins last year against the Dragons in the corresponding fixture. Magic Round has historically been kind to the joint venture, with their only defeat coming at the hands of the Cowboys in 2022.
State of Origin watch
With a bye while players are out for Origin I in Round 13, Wests Tigers play against the Dragons 48 hours after the series opener. In Round 16 and 19 – when Origin players will be out – they play the Raiders and Sharks, with the Roosters and Rabbitohs the sides they will back up against in Round 17 and 20 respectively.
Can't miss game
Round 3 v Sharks, Saturday at Leichhardt Oval (H)
Benji Marshall's first home game as a head coach is one not to be missed. The former superstar kicked a field goal to beat the Sharks at this venue back in 2012 and it's also the same opponent and place which marked Robbie Farah's final game five years ago with a heartbreaking loss that knocked the club out of finals contention. Wests Tigers didn't score a win until Round 9 last year and Round 6 the year before – a trend which the club can ill afford to continue if they're going to reverse their fortunes in 2024.