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Well, we’ve got knock out football this Saturday evening, when the Wests Tigers take on the Newcastle Knights at Campbelltown Stadium. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 5:30pm AEST.
With both of these sides already sitting two points outside the top eight, it really is curtains for the loser tonight as finals will prove to be out of reach. For the winner, hope will still be alive two weeks out from the end of the minor premiership.
Injuries have hit the Tigers at the worst time of the year, with Robbie Farah and Moses Mbye racing to be fit for the last round, whilst back up hooker Jacob Liddle is gone for an extended period after an ACL injury.
This has been at least partially responsible for back to back losses to the Sea Eagles and the Bulldogs, the two-point loss to the improving Bulldogs potentially having a massive impact on their season.
There’s plenty of changes for the Tigers, with Josh Reynolds elevated to play hooker with Liddle and Farah injured. Luke Garner is back after a week’s suspension. Paul Momirovski shifts to centre in place of Tommy Talau, with Robert Jennings back on the wing.
Chris Lawrence will start, with Michael Chee Kam dropping to the bench and Chris McQueen on the reserves list. Thomas Mikaele will start at prop, with Matt Eisenhuth back to the bench.
After a horrible losing streak, Newcastle returned to the winner’s list last weekend, with a 42-6 win over a woeful North Queensland Cowboys. Regardless of how poor the Cowboys were, the Knights will take plenty of confidence from the victory.
One x-factor around tonight’s game is the impending departure of Nathan Brown and the impact on the mindset of the Knights. We will have to wait for that one.
The Knights have a few changes, with Bradman Best probably making his NRL debut on the wing. Tautau Moga has been named but is likely out with a hamstring injury, with Hymel Hunt to move in one to play centre. Danny Levi replaces the injured Connor Watson at hooker. Tim Glasby may return from a break due to concussion.
It’s hard to get a read on just how good the Knights win was last weekend against a Cowboys team missing Jason Taumalolo.
But you get the feeling that the Knights may have too many points in them, with the Tigers missing Farah’s creativity.
The Tigers will be gallant, but the Knights may just have a little more class.
Newcastle Knights by 2
When: 5:30pm AEST
Where: Campbelltown Stadium
TV: Fox League
Online: NRL Live, Foxtel app or Foxtel now
Betting: Wests Tigers: $2.10, Newcastle Knights: $1.72
1. Corey Thompson 2. Robert Jennings 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Esan Marsters 5. David Nofoaluma 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Thomas Mikaele 9. Josh Reynolds 10. Oliver Clark 11. Luke Garner 12. Chris Lawrence 13. Ryan Matterson
Interchange: 14. Matt Eisenhuth 15. Elijah Taylor 16. Alex Twal 17. Michael Chee-Kam
1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Hymel Hunt 3. Sione Mata’utia 4. Tautau Moga 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Mason Lino 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. David Klemmer 9. Danny Levi 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Josh King
Interchange: 14. Kurt Mann 15. Herman Ese’ese 16. Jacob Saifiti 17. Aidan Guerra