The Tigers were in trouble early against the Knights last week before saving their season with a 28-26 win in one of the most entertaining games of 2019.
They are one of six teams competing for eighth spot and have a favourable run home against the Cowboys, Bulldogs, Sea Eagles, Knights, Dragons and Sharks, with two of those games at Leichhardt and one at Campbelltown.
The Tigers will relish being back at their spiritual home Leichhardt on Thursday against a Cowboys side that must win at least five of its final six games to have any chance of playing finals.
Match: Wests Tigers v Cowboys
Round 20 -
Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney
Wests Tigers: The Tigers are 1-17, with no changes to the side which took down the Knights in Newcastle in round 19. Michael Chee Kam was hospitalised after being knocked out late in the game but has been named to face the Cowboys pending concussion protocols. Tommy Talau and Chris McQueen were trimmed from the squad on game day and Jacob Liddle and Josh Reynolds were cut from the extended bench 24 hours before kick-off.
Cowboys: North Queensland are also 1-17 as named on Tuesday. Michael Morgan returns after a three-week absence recovering from concussion. John Asiata goes back to the bench and Corey Jensen is out of the 17. Coen Hess has been retained as the starting centre after impressing with 16 runs for 130 metres against the Sharks. Tom Gilbert and Gideon Gela-Mosby dropped off the reserves list an hour before kick-off, while Corey Jensen and Reuben Cotter were cut from the playing squad on Wednesday night.
Match: Wests Tigers v Cowboys
Round 20 -
Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Corey ThompsonFullback for Cowboys is number 1 Scott Drinkwater
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 2 Paul MomirovskiWinger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Moses MbyeCentre for Cowboys is number 3 Coen Hess
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Esan MarstersCentre for Cowboys is number 4 Tom Opacic
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 David NofoalumaWinger for Cowboys is number 5 Murray Taulagi
Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Benji MarshallFive-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Michael Morgan
Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke BrooksHalfback for Cowboys is number 7 Jake Clifford
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 Josh AloiaiProp for Cowboys is number 8 Josh McGuire
Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Robbie FarahHooker for Cowboys is number 9 Jake Granville
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 Oliver ClarkProp for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLean
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Luke Garner2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Gavin Cooper
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Michael Chee-Kam2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Shane Wright
Lock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Ryan MattersonLock for Cowboys is number 13 Jason Taumalolo
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Matthew EisenhuthInterchange for Cowboys is number 14 John Asiata
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Thomas MikaeleInterchange for Cowboys is number 15 Matthew Scott
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Alex TwalInterchange for Cowboys is number 16 Scott Bolton
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Chris LawrenceInterchange for Cowboys is number 17 Francis Molo
- Referee: Grant Atkins
- Referee: Jon Stone
- Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
Luke Brooks was once the NRL's most-hyped young halfback and Cowboys No.7 Jake Clifford now wears a similar tag. At his best, Brooks is a poised game-manager and Clifford must mirror his opponent in the organisation stakes if he's to marshal the Cowboys to victory.
For the Tigers to win
Coach Michael Maguire would love to see a dominant opening 20 minutes and avoid having to play catch-up. The Tigers fought back gamely and got the job done against Newcastle but they need to prove they can get an early lead and stay there. They need to match the experienced Cowboys pack and get the ball as often as possible to their money man - Corey Thompson.
For the Cowboys to win
Clifford keeps showing glimpses of his potential but doesn't have the experience to pull his team together and call the right shots when games get close late in the second half. John Asiata needs to offer more assistance in terms of game management, while the star-studded pack has to lead the way. Speedy fullback Scott Drinkwater needs more touches of the ball.
Brett Kimmorley says
An emotional victory for Wests Tigers last week in Robbie Farah’s 300th game. They also responded to some strong words from their coach. Back at Leichhardt Oval – they will love that. The Cowboys just relied on a high completion rate last week, they didn’t ask a great deal of questions. The Cowboys are stretching themselves at this time of the year with injuries and poor mistakes. Wests Tigers by 8
It's one thing to latch onto Cowboys wrecking-ball Jason Taumalolo, it's another to bring him to ground. The Tongan giant's perpetually-pumping legs have powered him to second in the NRL for post-contact metres with 946 – and that's despite missing five matches with injury.
And another thing ...
Revenge is a dish best served cold and the Cowboys will be out to pile it on the Tigers' plate after a gut-wrenching extra-time loss on home turf in round 14. The Tigers led 20-6 at half-time before the Cowboys surged back into the contest and took the lead 12 minutes from full-time. The visitors regained the lead with Michael Chee Kam's converted try but Jake Clifford sent the game into golden point with a 78th-minute penalty goal. The Tigers had the final say with Benji Marshall nailing a field goal for a 27-26 triumph.