NRL Preview: Round 5 v Wests Tigers
Wests Tigers v St George Illawarra Dragons
ANZ Stadium, Olympic Park
The St George Dragons remain in the top four following their big 26-12 victory over the New Zealand Warriors last Sunday afternoon at UOW Jubilee Oval, Kogarah.
Inspired efforts from skipper Widdop – who was involved in a car accident mere hours prior to the game – and front-rower Paul Vaughan helped the Dragons win back-to-back games for the first time in 2017.
The Wests Tigers will prove intriguing opponents considering new coach Andrew Webster will have a full week of preparation at his disposal following their indifferent loss to the Storm.
While Webster may not see out the week if coaching rumours prove true at the Tigers, he will have to make do without halfback Luke Brooks who has succumbed to a hamstring complaint.
The Tigers will be boosted by the returns of Matt Ballin and Jamal Idris however, with the Dragons remaining unchanged once again.
Wests Tigers: 1. James Tedesco, 2. David Nofoaluma, 3. Jamal Idris, 4. Kevin Naiqama, 5. Moses Suli, 6. Mitch Moses, 7. Jack Littlejohn, 8. Aaron Woods (c), 9. Matt McIlwrick, 10. Ava Seumanufagai, 11. Josh Aloiai, 12. Chris Lawrence, 13. Elijah Taylor. Interchange: 14. Tim Grant, 15. Sauaso Sue, 16. Michael Chee-Kam, 17. Matt Ballin, 18. Kyle Lovett, 19. Justin Hunt, 20. Joel Edwards, 21. Junior Tatola.
Dragons: 1. Josh Dugan, 2. Nene Macdonald, 3. Euan Aitken, 4. Tim Lafai, 5. Jason Nightingale, 6. Gareth Widdop (c), 7. Josh McCrone, 8. Russell Packer, 9. Cameron McInnes, 10. Paul Vaughan, 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Joel Thompson, 13. Jack de Belin. Interchange: 14. Tariq Sims, 15. Leeson Ah Mau, 16. Jacob Host, 17. Kurt Mann, 18. Jai Field, 19. Taane Milne, 20. Luciano Leilua, 21. Hame Sele.
Key Match-Up: Mitch Moses v Gareth Widdop – Widdop has the wood over Moses in the livewire stakes so far in 2017. In terms of tackle breaks and line breaks, Widdop has been more influential than his Tigers counterpart. However a big reason for this may lay in the fact that Moses is the Tigers' kicker whereas Josh McCrone does the heavy lifting at the Red V. With Jack Littlejohn named, it may allow Moses further freedom around the paddock.
The History: Played 32; Dragons 17, Wests Tigers 15. The Dragons and Wests Tigers have been waging an equal war in recent years. In their last 10 games – since 2011 – the Dragons and Tigers have won five times each. The Wests Tigers will head into Sunday with the winning form having beaten the Dragons 25-12 the last time they played in Round 20, 2016.
Match Officials: Referee: Henry Perenara. Assistant Referee: Matt Noyen. Sideline Officials: Rohan Best and Phil Henderson.
Televised: Channel Nine – Live coverage from 3:30pm; Fox League – Live coverage from 3:30pm.
Radio: ABC and Triple M