The equation is simple in this Saturday evening duel - the winner lives to fight another day while the loser will be done and dusted for 2019.

They have identical 9-12 records and neither team has set the world on fire lately.

The Knights broke a long losing streak with last week's big win over the Cowboys, but for a while in the second half they almost lost control of the game and should be thankful their opponents couldn't add to the scoreboard.

The Tigers are battling injuries to key players and are coming off a Round 22 road loss to Manly.

Match: Wests Tigers v Knights

Round 23 -

Full Time
Wests Tigers

Home Team

Wests Tigers

Scored 46 points
Knights

Away Team

Knights

Scored 4 points

Venue: Campbelltown Stadium, Sydney

Match broadcasters:

  • Foxtel
  • LIVE PASS
  • KAYO

The Rundown

Team news

Wests Tigers: Josh Reynolds will come off the bench, with Ryan Matterson switching to hooker and Matt Eisenhuth earning a start at lock. Luke Garner is back after a week's suspension. Paul Momirovski shifts to centre at the expense of Tommy Talau and Robert Jennings has been recalled as the starting winger. Chris Lawrence returns to the starting line-up, with Michael Chee Kam dropping to the bench. Thomas Mikaele has been named to start at prop, with Matt Eisenhuth back to the bench. Sam McIntyre was cut from the reserves list on Friday, while Tommy Talau and Chris McQueen were omitted an hour prior to kick-off.

Knights: A hamstring injury to centre Tautau Moga has given 18-year-old Bradman Best a chance to make his NRL debut. Danny Levi comes in at hooker to replace Connor Watson (knee), while Origin forward Tim Glasby has been elevated to the starting lineup after missing last weekend's game due to concussion protocols. Josh King moves to the bench, while Kurt Mann was named on the bench on Tuesday but has been omitted to make room for Glasby. Jamie Buhrer and Chris Randall were the last players cut before kick-off.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Corey Thompson
    Fullback for Knights is number 1 Kalyn Ponga
  • Winger for Wests Tigers is number 2 Robert Jennings
    Winger for Knights is number 2 Hymel Hunt
  • Centre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Paul Momirovski
    Centre for Knights is number 3 Sione Mata'utia
  • Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Esan Marsters
    Centre for Knights is number 20 Bradman Best
  • Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 David Nofoaluma
    Winger for Knights is number 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall
  • Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Benji Marshall
    Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Mason Lino
  • Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke Brooks
    Halfback for Knights is number 7 Mitchell Pearce

Forwards

  • Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 Thomas Mikaele
    Prop for Knights is number 8 David Klemmer
  • Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 13 Ryan Matterson
    Hooker for Knights is number 9 Danny Levi
  • Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 Oliver Clark
    Prop for Knights is number 10 Daniel Saifiti
  • 2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Luke Garner
    2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon
  • 2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Chris Lawrence
    2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Mitchell Barnett
  • Lock for Wests Tigers is number 14 Matthew Eisenhuth
    Lock for Knights is number 21 Tim Glasby

Interchange

  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 9 Josh Reynolds
    Interchange for Knights is number 13 Josh King
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Elijah Taylor
    Interchange for Knights is number 15 Herman Ese'ese
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Alex Twal
    Interchange for Knights is number 16 Jacob Saifiti
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Michael Chee-Kam
    Interchange for Knights is number 17 Aidan Guerra

Key match-up

Benji Marshall has a tough battle on his hands against Newcastle halfback Mitchell Pearce, who scored two tries in a superb performance against the Cowboys. They both have loads of big-game experience and will be relied on heavily by their respective coaches to lead the way.

For the Tigers to win

Luke Brooks has to produce one of his best games of the season, while Marshall will also have to fire. The forwards need to aim up against the likes of Klemmer, Saifiti and Barnett, while Corey Thompson's input from the back will be crucial.

For the Knights to win

Someone will have to step up and provide the spark they will miss in Connor Watson's absence, while Ponga and Pearce have to pick up where they left off against the Cowboys. If the Knights can lay a solid platform up front, it should give Pearce and Ponga room to create. They also have to stop cooling off after hot starts.

Brett Kimmorley says

It’s a grinding game for the Tigers, unfortunately they are just running out of dummy halves. When Robbie Farah was so instrumental in what they do, it is hard to find Plan A or Plan B once he is out. Newcastle need to keep winning and see if they can sneak into the eight. Kalyn Ponga, Mitchell Pearce and Connor Watson were great for Newcastle last week. Watson is out this week but the other two need to repeat that form. Knights by 6

Stat Attack

Pearce and Ponga stood out in last week's win, scoring two tries apiece and combining for 316 run metres, four line breaks, two line break assists and a try assist.

And another thing ...

In one of the most entertaining games of the season, the Tigers upstaged the Knights when they locked horns less than a month ago in Newcastle. After conceding two early tries, the Tigers scored three straight to lead 18-12 at half-time. Moses Mbye and Robbie Farah played key roles as the Tigers went on to win 28-26, but the pair will be missing on Saturday through injury.