With the match scheduled for a 10.40am kick-off the Jets and Tigers will be up early tomorrow for a match shaping as perhaps the last throw of the dice for both clubs in terms of their finals aspirations.
The Jets fell out of the top eight with a fourth consecutive loss, while this week’s opponents the Tigers are also on the outside looking in, currently level on points with the Newtown side but sitting one place behind on for-and-against.
It was way back in round one when the two teams last met, with the Tigers emerging 24-14 victors on that occasion.
The NSWRL has provided the following preview, including team lists, the VB NSW Cup competition table and a video preview and highlights package from the previous encounter between the two teams.
The match, which is to be played at Leichhardt Oval, will be televised live on Fox Sports.
It’s do or die as Wests Tigers tackle the Newtown Jets in the Fox Sports Match of the Round. Both sides are desperate to keep their slim Finals hopes alive in the must-win encounter.
“Semi-finals start a month early for us,” said Wests Tigers coach Paul Fletcher. “That’s the situation we put ourselves in, so every game is a semi-final for us now.”
The 10th-placed Wests Tigers are on a three-game losing streak in-between three byes since Round 17. The Jets are also struggling with four straight losses to drop out of the top eight into ninth position.
Fletcher is well aware of the attacking prowess of the Jets despite their recent form slump.
“Newtown traditionally have a big pack of forwards who play in the middle and have some classy speedy backs too such as Nathan Gardner, Blake Ayshford and Mitch Brown,” said Fletcher.
“We’ve got to hold and match them in the middle to go set for set and get in the grind with them.”
Ayshford moves to five-eighth, but it’s their defence the Jets will be desperate to rectify after conceding 142 points in their past four losses – an average of 35.5 points per game. Wests Tigers, on the other hand, have the second-worst attack with 384 points scored this season.
Ultimately, Fletcher believes the key to victory is to have a high completion rate.
“We need to go set for set with them,” Fletcher said. “We can’t afford to give them back-to-back sets too many times. We need to make their forwards do some tackling as well.”
It’s set to be an explosive contest with finals football on the line.
Newtown’s team is:
Daniel Abou-Sleiman, Nathan Gardner, Mitch Brown, Sami Sauiluma, Corey Brown, Blake Ayshford, Todd Murphy, Andrew Pearn, Kurt Kara, Myles Taueli, Tarek El Masri, Kurt Dillon, Tim Robinson.
Bench: Ahmad Ellaz, Pat Politoni, Ray Moujalli, Saulala Houma, Malakai Houma.
Coach: Greg Matterson.
The Wests Tigers team is:
Kurtis Rowe, Delouise Hoeter, Nathan Milone, Keith Lulia, Chance Peni, Tim Moltzen, Josh Drinkwater, Jordan Grant, Joel Luani, Michael Bullock, Lamar Liolevave, Asipeli Fine, Jarred Farlow.
Bench: Penani Manumalealii, Andy Fiagatusa, Hata Masila, John Sila.
Coach: Paul Fletcher.
Here’s the NSWRL VB NSW Cup competition table after 21 rounds: CLICK HERE http://www.nswrl.com.au/seniors/vb-nsw-cup/ladder.html
Also see a video preview of the Jets v Tigers match courtesy of NSWRL.com.au – CLICK HERE to view http://www.nswrl.com.au/news/2015/08/06/previews_vb_nsw_cup_.html
This match is being televised live on Fox Sports One from 10.30am tomorrow, the early starting time because of Fox Sports live television NYC and NRL commitments from New Zealand later in the day.