The Wests Tigers will be written off by many in the lead-up to Sunday's clash with the Sydney Roosters but coach Michael Maguire will not care too much about being the underdogs.
His Tigers started strongly against the Raiders in Canberra in round one but missed too many tackles in the second half as they watched a 6-6 deadlock at the break end in a 30-12 defeat.
The Roosters strung together a scintillating 80 minutes to kick off their title campaign with a 46-4 drubbing of Manly at the SCG with James Tedesco and Brett Morris each racking up a hat-trick of tries but the head knock to Jake Friend took some of the gloss off the victory.
Wests Tigers v Roosters
Match: Wests Tigers v Roosters
Round 2 -
Venue: Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Sydney
Wests Tigers: Speedster James Roberts is out of the match with a shoulder issue and his place is taken by Tommy Talau, with Michael Chee Kam joining the bench.
Adam Doueihi returns from the shoulder charge suspension he incurred in the final game of 2020 and will slot in at five-eighth with Moses Mbye bumped to the bench and youngster Daine Laurie retaining the fullback job.
Russell Packer and Alex Seyfarth were omitted from the squad on game day after Roberts and Jock Madden dropped out of the squad 24 hours before kick-off.
Wests Tigers have not defeated the Roosters at Campbelltown since 2003.
Roosters: The Roosters are 1-17, with Sam Walker and Egan Butcher dropping off the extended bench on game day.
Hooker Jake Friend suffered a concussion early in the second half against Manly and has been replaced by Freddy Lussick, while Drew Hutchison replaces Adam Keighran (dislocated wrist) on the bench.
Back-rower Angus Crichton has accepted a one-match ban for a crusher tackle. His absence means Nat Butcher has been promoted to the starting side and debutant Fletcher Baker has won a bench spot alongside Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Daniel Suluka-Fifita.
Matt Ikuvalu and Tukupa-Ke Hau Tapuha were cut from the squad on Saturday.
The Roosters have won 14 of their past 15 games against Wests Tigers.
Match: Wests Tigers v Roosters
Round 2 -
Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Daine LaurieFullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 2 David NofoalumaWinger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Joseph LeiluaCentre for Roosters is number 3 Josh Morris
Centre for Wests Tigers is number 17 Tommy TalauCentre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Asu KepaoaWinger for Roosters is number 5 Brett Morris
Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Adam DoueihiFive-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Lachlan Lam
Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke BrooksHalfback for Roosters is number 7 Luke Keary
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 James TamouProp for Roosters is number 8 Lindsay Collins
Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Jacob LiddleHooker for Roosters is number 9 Freddy Lussick
Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 Joe OfahengaueProp for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Luciano Leilua2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Nat Butcher
2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Luke Garner2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua
Lock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Alex TwalLock for Roosters is number 13 Isaac Liu
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Moses MbyeInterchange for Roosters is number 14 Drew Hutchison
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Thomas MikaeleInterchange for Roosters is number 15 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Stefano UtoikamanuInterchange for Roosters is number 16 Fletcher Baker
Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 20 Michael Chee KamInterchange for Roosters is number 17 Daniel Suluka-Fifita
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Touch Judge: Jon Stone
- Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
- Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy
Daine Laurie v James Tedesco: Players don't start the season much hotter than "Teddy" did against the Sea Eagles so it'll be all hands on deck for the Tigers if they are to nullify the No.1 gun.
Former Panther Laurie's first competition hitout for Wests Tigers was an unqualified success. The recruit was composed at the back and with more game time will only improve as he settles in at the club.
There should be plenty of attack on show in this contest. The Roosters led the league in tries scored (4.6) and line breaks (5.3) last season, while the Tigers ranked sixth in both categories despite missing the finals.
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