Wests Tigers will be looking to make amends for the heartbreaking golden point loss to Souths when they take on Manly this Sunday, April 25.
In a sign that he was happy with his team’s performance last Saturday, head coach Michael Maguire has made few changes to the team that will run out on Bankwest Stadium on Anzac Day.
But as heartening that effort was against one of the premiership favourites, the fact is that the Wests Tigers head into round seven with just one win and five losses.
If Wests Tigers have another ordinary game against Manly, the improvement in the 18-14 loss to the Bunnies will mean very little.
And the reality is that Wests Tigers, and Maguire, need some wins, and they need them quick.
It’s already been a long season, so going out of finals contention early would make it painfully longer for all concerned.
Maguire, to his credit, hasn’t given up and every week he tweaks the side, a bit here and bit there.
For the Manly match, the major change is in the centres where Michael Chee Kam comes in to replace Asu Kepaoa who is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL against Souths.
After an impressive NRL debut in that game, young hooker Jake Simpkin (pictured top) has retained his place in the side, while Moses Mbye is again on the bench as a utility.
Local junior Alex Seyfarth is the new face on the bench as he replaces Thomas Mikaele, with the 22-year-old set for his first game of the year after playing four games in his rookie 2020 season.
Following another strong game for the club’s Knock-On Effect NSW Cup side, Tom Amone is the other player named in the reserves to round out the 21-man squad.
Wests Tigers defeated the Sea Eagles 52-18 in their pre-season trial match earlier this year at Leichhardt Oval, and have won five of their last six regular season games against Manly.
Western Suburbs Magpies will feature as the curtain-raiser on Sunday, with Ben Gardiner’s side looking to extend their winning streak to five games in a row as they face the Blacktown-Workers Sea Eagles at 11:20am.
1. Daine Laurie
2. David Nofoaluma
3. James Roberts
4. Michael Chee Kam
5. Tommy Talau
6. Adam Doueihi
7. Luke Brooks
8. James Tamou (captain)
9. Jake Simpkin
10. Stefano Utoikamanu
11. Joe Ofahengaue
12. Luciano Leilua
13. Alex Twal
14. Moses Mbye
15. Luke Garner
16. Alex Seyfarth
17. Zane Musgrove
18. Jacob Liddle
19. Thomas Mikaele
20. Tom Amone
21. Joey Leilua