Schick Hydro Preview: Wests Tigers v Newcastle Knights
If these two teams were to combine their respective scorecards from last week they would have lost 98-4.
The Knights – hosting seven players 20 or younger – were outmatched by the Sharks and thrashed 62-0.
Jason Taylor's men fared a little better. They lost 36-4 to the Bulldogs.
The loss of Robbie Farah (concussion) midway through the first haf didn't help the Tigers' cause last week and he's been consequentially replaced by club debutant Matt Ballin. JJ Felise has also been named on the bench with Curtis Sironen (ankle) unavailable.
The Knights have only positives in terms of their 17. Trent Hodkinson (knee), Sam Mataora and Nathan Ross (both hamstring) have all been included at the expense of Cory Denniss and David Bhana.
Watch out Wests Tigers: This is Hodkinson's last opportunity to show New South Wales coach Laurie Daley exactly why he shouldn't be dropped for Origin I on June 1. Hodkinson missed the Knights' horror loss last weekend so he'll be at the very least looking to impress Newcastle fans upon his return.
Watch out Knights: Elijah Taylor will be out to prove he's no one trick pony against the Knights. One of the best tackling machines in the competition, Taylor will surely get more runs on the board in this one. Against the Bulldogs last week he made 51 metres and 50 tackles.
Key Match-Up: Mitch Moses v Brock Lamb – It was just under three years ago when Brock Lamb's high school All Saints Maitland won the GIO Schoolboys Cup. Lamb was Man of the Match in All Saints' 35-34 win over Eagle Vale and was handed his nifty $100 cheque by none other than Mitch Moses. On Saturday they'll face off in the NRL for the first time. Lamb is only two years Moses' junior and isn't exactly out of his depth up against the Tigers' young halves.
The History: Played 22; Wests Tigers 10, Knights 12. The Knights hold the wood over the Tigers in recent years having won five of their past six games against them – including their last three. The Knights' only win of the year so far has been against the Tigers having emerged 18-16 victors in Round 6.
What are the Odds: Sportsbet is taking $2 on the Tigers for every $1 on the Knights to win, with the Tigers 13-plus getting plenty of attention. Kevin Naiqama is the only one punters want to see score the first try, with Jordan Rankin the best backed to score a try at any stage during the match. Latest odds at Sportsbet.com.au
Match Officials: Referee: Gerard Sutton. Assistant Referee: Adam Devcich. Sideline Officials: Clayton Sharpe and Rick MacFarlane.
Televised: Fox Sports 1 – Live Coverage from 2:25pm AEST.
The way we see it: The Tigers always seem to pop up at the perfect time for Newcastle. Last year, both their wins over the Tigers saw the Knights end two lengthy losing streaks while it's no secret they won this very fixture a little over a month ago. The Tigers crumbled against the Bulldogs last week and will be desperate to bounce back, but a huge flogging like Newcastle copped does strange things to a team and an upset could very well be on the cards. Knights by four points.