Holden Cup Elimination Final Preview: Wests Tigers v Parramatta Eels
The Tigers take on the Eels in the first of a Holden Cup double-header on Sunday, with the black and golds hoping to overturn a lopsided regular season head-to-head record that saw Parramatta win both games 40-4 and 25-18.
Both teams welcome back their biggest stars, with Jacob Liddle and Veiru Mapesone headlining a couple of key changes for the Tigers, while try-scoring machine Jermaine Mati-Lefi returns for the Eels.
Watch out Wests Tigers: While they've welcomed back some high-class cavalry, the Tigers will be without halfback Thomas Bartley for the first time this season after he suffered an ACL injury in the final minutes of Sunday's 28-all draw against the Raiders. Bartley had the most kick metres (2,683) for the Tigers and chipped in with nine try assists and his presence will be sorely missed in the finals.
Watch out Eels: Pencil it in now, Jacob Liddle will be the NRL Rookie of the Year in 2017. The Tigers No.9 finished second in voting at the club's presentation night for both NYC and ISP despite playing just half a season in each competition. In just 10 Holden Cup matches, Liddle scored nine tries, had five assists and 12 line breaks. He made his NRL debut against the Bulldogs earlier in the year – where he grabbed a try – and has the class to set first grade alright for many years to come.
Televised: Fox Sports 1 – Live coverage from 11am.
The way we see it: Wests Tigers by 8.
Game on. Data off.
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