Wests Tigers will be loving life sitting in sixth position, three slots higher than the dreaded ninth which has plagued them in recent seasons, while the Panthers are riding high in second spot.
No shortage of mouth-watering clashes at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday night when Josh Aloiai and Luciano Leilua battle for forward supremacy with James Tamou and James Fisher-Harris to lay a platform for wily hookers Harry Grant and Api Koroisau to run amok.
The Panthers have been all class in the past fortnight with wins over Melbourne and the Rabbitohs while Michael Maguire's men have also put two together, racking up 70 points against the Cowboys and Bulldogs on the back of slick finishing by Tommy Talau and David Nofoaluma.
Match: Wests Tigers v Panthers
Round 8 -
Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney
Wests Tigers: Unchanged after last week's big win over Canterbury. Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence dropped off the extended bench on game day and Billy Walters and Russell Packer were the two players left out 24 hours before the match. Wests Tigers have scored 62 points in two games at Bankwest Stadium in 2020.
Panthers: Brent Naden replaces Dean Whare at centre with Tyrone May bumping Matt Burton off the bench. Josh Mansour (knee) returns on the wing. Mitch Kenny and Spencer Leniu were the two players omitted 24 hours before kick-off. The Panthers have won five of their past six games against the Tigers.
Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Adam DoueihiFullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan Edwards
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 2 David NofoalumaWinger for Panthers is number 2 Josh Mansour
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Joseph LeiluaCentre for Panthers is number 4 Stephen Crichton
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Moses MbyeCentre for Panthers is number 19 Brent Naden
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Tommy TalauWinger for Panthers is number 5 Brian To'o
Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Josh ReynoldsFive-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jarome Luai
Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke BrooksHalfback for Panthers is number 7 Nathan Cleary
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 Josh AloiaiProp for Panthers is number 8 James Tamou
Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Harry GrantHooker for Panthers is number 9 Apisai Koroisau
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 Oliver ClarkProp for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-Harris
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Luke Garner2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Viliame Kikau
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Luciano Leilua2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin
Lock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Matthew EisenhuthLock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Elijah TaylorInterchange for Panthers is number 15 Zane Tetevano
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Thomas MikaeleInterchange for Panthers is number 16 Moses Leota
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Sam McIntyreInterchange for Panthers is number 17 Billy Burns
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Michael Chee-KamInterchange for Panthers is number 21 Tyrone May
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
- Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
- Video Referee: Beau Scott
- Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy
Nathan Cleary v Luke Brooks. Panthers playmaker Cleary famously booted a sideline conversion and then nailed a field goal to sink the Tigers last season. And he made the headlines last week for his starring role in beating South Sydney despite cellulitis. For the Tigers, Brooks has been playing a steady role alongside Josh Reynolds as the team picks up steam.
Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma is enjoying a great start to 2020. He leads the NRL in tackle breaks (46) and is fourth in the league for run metres. He has also scored eight tries (equal second best in the NRL).