2 days ago
Wests Tigers v Eels preview - 2017 Round 20
Mitchell Moses squares up against his former club for the inaugural ‘Stay Kind' cup.
This week's ‘Battle of the West' between the Tigers and Eels holds even greater significance this week as NRL uses its platform to raise awareness for the Thomas Kelly Foundation, which deals with the tough subject of youth suicide. The clash on the field is also an important one in the context of both side's seasons. The Tigers will be looking to climb further ahead of the Knights, who currently sit four points behind them on the ladder, and therefore take an important step towards avoiding the dreaded Wooden Spoon. Ivan Cleary's men came close to pulling off a boil over last week when they led the Sea Eagles at half time, only to fall to a 28-16 defeat. Compounding that result is the loss of hooker Jacob Liddle to a shoulder injury and Sauaso Sue through suspension. As a result, Chris Lawrence moves into the back-row whilst Matt McIllwirck starts in the No. 9 jersey.
Meanwhile, with a relatively soft run home, victory this week will see the Eels cement their spot inside the Top Eight. There will be added motivation when Mitchell Moses comes up against his former side as well as current housemates James Tedesco and Luke Brooks. Moses has made a successful transition to Parramatta and Brad Arthur's men have now won 5 of their past 7 with their new five-eighth. In team news, Manu Ma'u returns from an ankle injury with Kenny Edwards shifting back to the bench.
Last meeting: Round 7 2017 - Eels 26 Wests Tigers 22
The Eels earned a hard-fought 26-22 win over the Tigers on Easter Monday earlier this year at ANZ Stadium.
Who to watch: Luke Brooks will look to prove a point on Sunday afternoon as he comes up against former halves partner Mitchell Moses. Brooks has slowly been building confidence without Moses in the past weeks, enjoying a solid outing last week against Manly, with highlights including a try and try-assist. In saying this, Brooks must continue to take further responsibility of a side which is lacking in both confidence and experience.
Obviously, Mitchell Moses is the obvious player to watch for Parramatta. Moses was instrumental in leading his side to victory in their battle with Melbourne a fortnight ago. The former Tiger had a hand in two tries, whilst also scoring one of his own. Look for Moses' spark in attack to prove a handful for the Tigers' defence on Sunday.
The favourite: The Eels are heavy favourites to continue their push towards their first finals appearance since 2009.
My tip: Parramatta have been in fine form recently and should have too much class for an improving Tigers side. Eels by 16.
1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Esan Marsters 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 6. Tuimoala Lolohea 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods 9. Matt McIlwrick 10. Ava Seumanufagai 20. Kyle Lovett 17. Tim Grant 14. Matthew Eisenhuth 13. Elijah Taylor 16. Michael Chee-Kam 17. Alex Twal 18. Jack Littlejohn
1. Clint Gutherson 2. Semi Radradra 3. Michael Jennings 4. Brad Takairangi 5. Bevan French 6. Corey Norman 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Siosaia Vave 9. Cameron King 10. Tim Mannah 11. Manu Ma'u 12. Tepai Moeroa 13. Nathan Brown 14. Daniel Alvaro 15. Kenny Edwards 16. Suaia Matagi 17. Will Smith
Referees: Adam Gee, Chris Sutton; Sideline Officials: Rohan Best, Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski; Video Referees: Bernard Sutton, Luke Patten;