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This would have sounded ridiculous six weeks ago, but the Roosters need to beat the Wests Tigers to retain their spot in the top four.

While injuries have cruelled the back-to-back champions, a loss on Sunday could see Trent Robinson's men fall to as low as sixth on the ladder with five weeks remaining before the finals. A top-two finish no longer looks a viable proposition.

As for Wests Tigers, the scenario is simple - keep winning or say goodbye to the finals.

The Rundown

Team news

Wests Tigers: Alex Twal and Thomas Mikaele move from the reserves to the interchange, with Sam McIntyre and Chris Lawrence omitted an hour before kick-off after Alex Seyfarth and Asu Kepaoa dropped out of the squad on Friday. Halfback Benji Marshall battled a minor ankle complaint last week but is fine. Tigers second-rower Luciano Leilua has scored four tries in three games at Leichhardt Oval.

Roosters: Brett Morris and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves are set to return from injury in place of Christian Tuipulotu and Mitch Aubusson (fractured wrist) with Nat Butcher shifting to the second row.

Lachlan Lam (ankle) and Luke Keary (ribs) are out with Drew Hutchison and Kyle Flanagan forming a new halves pairing. Freddy Lussick debuts on the bench. Ryan Hall and Max Bailey dropped off the reserves list on game day after Egan Butcher and Sam Walker were the two players left out 24 hours before the match. Robinson will reach the milestone of 200 games as Roosters coach.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Adam Doueihi
    Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
  • Winger for Wests Tigers is number 2 David Nofoaluma
    Winger for Roosters is number 2 Matt Ikuvalu
  • Centre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Joseph Leilua
    Centre for Roosters is number 3 Josh Morris
  • Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Moses Mbye
    Centre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
  • Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Tommy Talau
    Winger for Roosters is number 5 Brett Morris
  • Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Luke Brooks
    Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Drew Hutchison
  • Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Benji Marshall
    Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Kyle Flanagan

Forwards

  • Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 Josh Aloiai
    Prop for Roosters is number 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
  • Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Jacob Liddle
    Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Jake Friend
  • Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 Russell Packer
    Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho
  • 2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Luke Garner
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Sitili Tupouniua
  • 2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Luciano Leilua
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Nat Butcher
  • Lock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Matthew Eisenhuth
    Lock for Roosters is number 13 Isaac Liu

Interchange

  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Elijah Taylor
    Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Freddy Lussick
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Josh Reynolds
    Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Poasa Faamausili
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 18 Alex Twal
    Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Daniel Suluka-Fifita
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 19 Thomas Mikaele
    Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Lindsay Collins

Match Officials

  • Referee: Grant Atkins
  • Touch Judge: Todd Smith
  • Touch Judge: Chris Sutton
  • Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein

Last updated:

Key match-up

Adam Doueihi v James Tedesco. Doueihi isn't at Tedesco's level but, if he can be safe under kicks and provide attacking punch, he can play a Tedesco-type role for the Tigers. As for Tedesco, he has been quiet in recent weeks. That could spell bad news for his former team.

Stat Attack

The controlled aggression Michael Maguire wants from his players is evident when it comes to the way his players carry the ball. As a team, Wests Tigers (482) lead the NRL when it comes to tackle breaks, having made 20 more than the second-placed Eels. The Roosters are third with 455 tackle breaks over the first 14 rounds.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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