NRL TEAMS - 2021 Round 21
2 days ago | LeagueUnlimited Media
Desperate Tigers after a Turbo charged scalp
Last week the Wests Tigers roared back into finals contention with four late tries to eventually ease past the Brisbane Broncos 42-24.
Still in 12th place, the late escape leaves Michael Mcguire's side clinging to a mid-table cluster, just one win shy of the eighth placed Sharks.
If not for a string of butchered Broncos line-breaks, the season for the joint-venture club may have been over by halftime.
But Adam Doueihi, back in his favoured No.6 jumper took it upon himself, righting the ship with five try assists to set up a mouth watering clash this week with Kieran Foran.
This week Fox aired Tales from Tiger Town, it's compulsive viewing, but it'll rate even higher among Wests fans if the Tale of Two Halves script is tossed away for consistency.
Last week's mountain of missed tackles in the opening half followed by a 32 point avalanche beat the battlers, but against the top teams, picking and choosing your moments often spells defeat.
Ranked 14th for run metres, it's easy to see why Wests' potency can be hit and miss. But with sustained forward momentum and with David Nofoaluma, the club's greatest ever try scorer, the Tigers' right edge can foot it with anyone.
And with Macguire retaining last week's 17, the Tigers' combinations should be better for the run.
Coming off a heavy defeat to the Raiders, Manly's undermanned win over the Dragons not only lifted spirits, but with the impressive Josh Schuster and Haumole Olakau'atu, it shone a bright light on the Sea Eagles' future.
Now with Origin done and his three stars rested, Des Hasler looks primed to raise the bar as the Sea Eagles ready themselves for an unlikely tilt at the top four.
The return of Tom Trbojevic alone should sound the warning bells in Tiger Town, but if that doesn't , then vision from round 7 will. That was Anzac Day, and the Sea Eagles ran riot in a 40-6 victory crafted by a line-up almost identical to the one named to play this Saturday.
In another key selection, the Sea Eagles welcome back prop Josh Aloiai from a long term wrist injury. And with the former Tiger named on the bench, it means Hasler's side is essentially at full strength.
Last meeting: Round 7 2021 - Wests Tigers 6 Sea Eagles 40
Who to watch: Without meaning to offend, Hamole Olakau'atu is a freak. One of a stack of Sea Eagle youngsters forced to bide their time, the 22-year-old back-rower is now the boss of Manly's right edge. With hands bigger than dinner plates, his one hand carries are a defenders worst nightmare. And failing that, at nearly two metres, he fancies his chances of crashing through the line.
Once you see Stefano Utoikamanu in action, it's little surprise Brad Fittler added the man mountain to his Origin 3 squad. Last week's head-to-head with Payne Haas was an insight into the Blues' front-row future. Now with increased minutes, the former Eel is quickly building a formidable reputation. And having already crossed the stripe four times this season, if Manly let the Tigers get close enough, then don't be surprised if the rampaging tearaway is good enough.
The favourite: At full strength, Manly are the universal tip in this one.
My tip: With a refreshed Tom Trbojevic drifting behind a full strength combination of veterans and carefree youngsters, Manly will be armed and dangerous. It spells trouble for a Wests outfit prone to falling asleep at the wheel. If the Tigers don't jump at the first whistle it could be a long evening, otherwise, the Sea Eagles should get their way in the closing stages. Manly by 16.
1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jason Saab 3. Brad Parker 4. Morgan Harper 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Martin Taupau 11. Haumole Olakau'atu 12. Josh Schuster 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Dylan Walker 15. Josh Aloiai 16. Sean Keppie 17. Toafofoa Sipley 18. Moses Suli
1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Junior Pauga 4. Tommy Talau 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Adam Doueihi 7. Luke Brooks 8. Stefano Utoikamanu 9. Jacob Liddle 10. James Tamou 11. Luke Garner 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Thomas Mikaele 14. Joe Ofahengaue 16. Tukimihia Simpkins 17. Moses Mbye 20. Alex Seyfarth 18. Michael Chee-Kam
Referees: Ashley Klein; Sideline Officials: Todd Smith, Darian Furner; Video Referees: Steve Chiddy;