Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles preview
3 hours ago | Tim Costello
Resurgent Tigers eye off reigning premiers
Sitting just outside the top eight on points differential, the Wests Tigers will be looking to capitalise upon a Sydney Roosters side in the midst of an uncharacteristic losing run.
Enduring an inconsistent campaign to date, the Tigers showed plenty of tenacity to pip the Rabbitohs 14-9 in the dying stages last Thursday to record back-to-back wins for the first time since the opening fortnight of the season.
Holding a dismal record over the past five years in Origin-affected matches - winning two of their past ten - coach Michael Maguire will need considerable improvement from his charges in order to overcome an 11 per cent success rate against the Roosters throughout the 2010s.
With captain Moses Mbye named in the Queensland squad for Origin III, Paul Momirovski has been named to face his former club, while Samoan representative Josh Aloiai returns in the front row at the expense of Oliver Clark.
Going down narrowly to Melbourne, 14-12, in Adelaide last Friday, the Sydney Roosters will be desperate to arrest a disappointing run of form over the past six weeks that has seen the reigning premiers go from leading the competition to falling six points off the pace.
Coming away with a single win over the last-placed Bulldogs from their past five matches, coach Trent Robinson will be hoping recent history against the joint venture plays to his side's favour following 16 wins from the past 18 clashes between the two Sydney rivals.
Making their first appearance at Bankwest Stadium on Friday night, Joseph Manu has been selected at fullback with Ryan Hall and Luke Keary coming into the backline, while Jared Waerea-Hargreaves returns as an indirect replacement for captain Boyd Cordner.
Last meeting: Round 8 2019 - Roosters 42 Wests Tigers 12
Who to watch: Coming up with yet another inspired piece of play to secure victory for the Tigers last Thursday, Michael Chee Kam has risen from an unassuming utility to become a proven match winner this season. Spending the early part of his career unable to cement a regular position across stints with Canberra and Manly before joining the Tigers three years ago, the 27-year-old Samoan representative has thrived under the tutelage of Michael Maguire to garner plenty of focus from rival teams. Contracted to the joint venture for another two seasons, expect Chee Kam to make his mark felt against the reigning premiers as the Tigers eye off a win to elevate them into the top eight.
Exhausting all superlatives with his performance against the Tigers earlier this season, the past six weeks have seen Latrell Mitchell endure one of the most challenging periods of his young career. Sensationally omitted in the wake of the Blues' Origin I loss, the 22-year-old speedster has been a victim of the Roosters' waning form, twice running for under 100 metres over the past fortnight while being used as a stop-gap half to varying results. Afforded the opportunity to play in his preferred position with Luke Keary named to return following an extended stint on the sidelines with concussion, look for Mitchell to stand up on Friday night with a performance befitting a player of his talents.
The favourite: Despite missing two of their most influential players due to representative commitments, the Roosters are expected to maintain their dominant record against the joint venture.
My tip: While far from impressive in downing South Sydney last week, the confidence gained should see the Tigers prevail in a high scoring upset. Wests Tigers by 6.
1. Corey Thompson 2. Robert Jennings 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Esan Marsters 5. David Nofoaluma 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 15. Thomas Mikaele 9. Robbie Farah 10. Alex Twal 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Chris Lawrence 13. Matt Eisenhuth 8. Josh Aloiai 14. Jacob Liddle 16. Elijah Taylor 17. Michael Chee-Kam
1. Joseph Manu 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Brett Morris 5. Ryan Hall 6. Luke Keary 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Victor Radley 10. Zane Tetevano 11. Nat Butcher 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Isaac Liu 14. Angus Crichton 15. Poasa Faamausili 16. Sitili Tupouniua 21. Sam Verrills
Referees: Henry Perenara, Matt Noyen; Sideline Officials: Nick Morel, Jeff Younis; Video Referees: Steve Chiddy, Bryan Norrie;