Warriors vs Tigers: NRL Preview

Image - NRL.com
New Zealand Warriors vs Wests Tigers
Mt. Smart Stadium
Saturday, May 5th, 2018
5:30pm AEST, 7:30pm NZ

Team Lists:

1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 
2 David Fusitu'a, 
3 Peta Hiku, 
4 Solomone Kata, 
5 Ken Maumalo, 
6 Blake Green, 
7 Shaun Johnson, 
8 Bunty Afoa, 
9 Issac Luke, 
10 Agnatius Paasi, 
11 Simon Mannering, 
12 Tohu Harris, 
13 Adam Blair
14 Karl Lawton, 
15 Sam Lisone, 
16 Isaiah Papalii, 
20 James Gavet
Reserves: 18 Anthony Gelling, 20 Mason Lino, 21 Albert Vete, 22 Sam Cook
Wests Tigers: 
1 Corey Thompson, 
2 David Nofoaluma, 
3 Esan Marsters, 
4 Kevin Naiqama, 
5 Mahe Fonua, 
6 Benji Marshall (c), 
7 Luke Brooks, 
8 Matthew Eisenhuth, 
9 Pita Godinet, 
10 Ben Matulino, 
11 Chris Lawrence, 
12 Robbie Rochow, 
13 Elijah Taylor
14 Alex Twal, 
15 Josh Aloiai, 
16 Michael Chee-Kam, 
17 Sauaso Sue
Reserves: 18 Tim Grant, 19 Matt McIlwrick, 20 Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, 21 Tyson Gamble
Match Preview
The Warriors and the Tigers are going to be gunning for glory this weekend after coming off the back of losses in the ANZAC Day weekend. The Warriors were taken back to the woodshed by the Storm, smashed on ANZAC day by a rejuvinated spine of the Storm. The Tigers probably should have won against the Eels with the opportunities they had in the last 10 minutes, but they couldn't breakthrough to give the Eels their second win of 2018. 
Both teams are looking to get a win, and both teams have made changes to their teams from round 8. The Warriors are jumping out of their skin as they welcome back Shaun Johnson, Tohu Harris and Solomone Kata from injury. Isaac Luke is surprisingly named, however their are rumours that Karl Lawton will start and Luke will be dropped to ensure he is fine for next week. Jazz Tevaga has been left out of the 21.
The Tigers are leaving Mahe Fonua on the wing after his great start against the Eels last week, with Elijah Taylor coming back in at lock after a week off. The versatile Matt Eisenhuth moves to prop, with Sauaso Sue going to the bench. Alex Twal comes back on the bench, with Jacob Liddle and Tim Grant out of the 17.
Key Match Ups
Thompson vs Tuivasa-Sheck
The more and more that Corey Thompson plays at fullback, the more I am convinced that Tui Lolohea won't be back anytime soon. The most underrated signing of the season so far, Thompson looks right at home at the back of the Tigers defense. He can cut through a defense like a hot knife through butter, and back up for second phase plays. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been in a little bit of a form slump, but he is always just one game away from finding his form. With Shaun Johnson back this week, expect the man known as RTS to go over for a meat pie.
The Centre Battle
One of the highlights throughout the year has been the improvement of Esan Marsters, who has been the shining light in the Tigers team. The re-surgeance of Peta Hiku outside of Shuan Johnson has seen him jump back up into contention for a NZ representative jersey at the end of the year. Kevin Naiqama has been in career best from over the course of the season, and Solomone Kata will always be a force to be reckoned with, purely with how hard he runs the ball. I guarantee that at least 2 of the 4 will score.
Matulino and his old club
Ben Matulino was on the outer when he left the Warriors at the back end of last year. He left and went to the Tigers, where he earned the starting spot and he has been dominant for the Black and Orange. He comes up against a new look starting line up in Bunty Afoa and Agnatius Paasi in the front row. Matulino will be wanting to get one up on his old team, while the new look Warriors front row will want to show why he was shunted away in the first place.
The Warriors at home are fantastic to watch. The Tigers are out to snap a losing streak. Both teams see players return, and we could see a 50+ point game. The Warriors will be on the top end of those points, with Shaun Johnson to scoot over in the last 10 minutes.
Warriors 32-24


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