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After a couple of big wins over the Cowboys and Bulldogs, the Tigers suffered back-to-back losses to the Panthers and Rabbitohs to slip to 4-5 for the season.

But they weren't far off in either of those defeats and coach Michael Maguire isn't the type to push the panic button.

The Tigers have shown they can compete with almost every team for 60 or 70 minutes but are yet to prove they are a consistent 80-minute threat.

The Broncos finally saw some sunshine after snapping a six-game losing run with last week's victory over the Bulldogs but their fans might need a little more convincing after enduring the toughest losing period in club history.

The Rundown

Team news

Wests Tigers: Michael Maguire's side will start 1-17 after Oliver Clark and Michael Chee-Kam were the two players dropped from the squad an hour before kick-off. Josh Aloiai, David Nofoaluma and assistant coach Brett Hodgson were tested for COVID-19 on Thursday because they live in south-western Sydney suburbs that have been identified as hotspots.

Veteran playmaker Benji Marshall and young five-eighth Billy Walters are the new starting halves duo. Tommy Talau returns from a hamstring injury on the wing in place of Reece Hoffman. Hoffman and Shawn Blore were omitted from the reserves 24 hours before kick-off. Wests Tigers have won two of their past six games at Leichhardt.

Broncos: Richie Kennar will play his first game at centre for the Broncos this year against Wests Tigers on Friday night. Herbie Farnworth, who suffered a bad cork in the win over the Bulldogs, failed a fitness test on Thursday morning. Reserves Tom Dearden and Rhys Kennedy were the two players omitted an hour before kick-off. Along with Farnworth, Tyson Gamble was the other player to drop out of the extended squad on Thursday night.

Ben Te'o will start in the back row for injured skipper Alex Glenn with Joe Ofahengaue back from suspension on the bench in the only change from last week's drought-breaking win over Canterbury.

Key match-up

Harry Grant v Issac Luke. The young buck versus the old "Bully". One is on the rise and the other is in the twilight of a career that started with the Rabbitohs back in 2007.

Luke is with his fourth club after joining the Broncos a month ago and there are times when he shows glimpses of his crafty younger self. Grant has been a revelation since joining Wests Tigers from Melbourne.

The 22-year-old Queenslander made his NRL debut in 2018 and will be relishing his battle with a man 11 years his senior.

Stat Attack

The Tigers overturned an 8-6 half-time deficit to upstage the Broncos 22-16 at Suncorp Stadium in their only meeting last season. Both teams desperately need to win on Friday night to keep their finals hopes afloat - Brisbane more so than the Tigers.

Winger David Nofoaluma has been in sizzling form for the Tigers this year and leads the NRL in tackle breaks (58). He also ranks in the top five in tries (eight), runs (174) and run metres (1778).