James Tedesco is ready to fire for the Tigers. Picture Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia
Newcastle Knights v Wests Tigers
Sunday June 8 – 2:05 PM (AEST)
It’s been a good week for the Wests Tigers . After constantly dealing with a host of injuries for the past two years, the Tigers finally have a near full strength roster. Add to that the backflip by James Tedesco to stay with the Black and Gold and things are looking up in Leichhardt. The Newcastle Knights on the other hand just cannot string wins together. With all the experience they have, including the game’s greatest coach, the dark times shouldn’t last much longer.
The Tigers were unlucky to lose two weeks ago to the Broncos. Being dealt a pretty ordinary penalty in the dying minutes, the Broncos capitalized, downing the Tigers 16-14 in Campbelltown. But the week off is something they relished. The Tigers welcome back a host of stars from injury and representative duty. Coach Mick Potter now has a fresh new headache, but one he will enjoy. With a roster almost free of injury, he has to decide who will start and who will be dropped. Along with Tedesco, Liam Fulton and Curtis Sironen make their way back into the side. Aaron Woods and Robbie Farah return from a gruelling win for NSW in last week’s State of Origin. Fulton and Woods are in the starting side, dropping Martin Taupau to the bench and Sitaleki Akauola to NSW Cup. Tedesco returns to the custodian role, leaving Kurtis Rowe out of the side. Sironen has been named 18th man.
There is not much that can be said for the Knights. Something isn’t working and no one can put their finger on it. Darius Boyd has come back from Origin in sensational form and yet can’t seem to get his men over the line. The forward pack of Kade Snowden, Willie Mason, Jeremy Smith and Beau Scott has over 700 games between them, and despite all that experience, can’t seem to create the platform for Tyrone Roberts and Jarrod Mullen to work off. Coach Wayne Bennett has made only two changes for Friday's clash with Beau Scott returning for the injured Adam Cuthbertson and Akuila Uate back from injury. Josh Mantellato reverts to NSW Cup.
On paper, the two teams are hard to split, but the return of captain Farah is always a huge boost for the Tigers. His direction and leadership should see the visitors head back down M1 happy men.
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