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Wests Tigers will begin their premiership campaign with confidence after star signings Jackson Hastings, Oliver Gildart and Tyrone Peachey all made an impact in their trial win against Sydney Roosters.

However, the Storm will provide a tougher assessment for Michael Maguire's men - even if the visitors are missing suspended stars Cameron Munster and Harry Grant.

Melbourne have lost Josh Addo-Carr, Dale Finucane, Nicho Hynes to Cronulla during the off-season but are still able to field a strong line-up, which includes new recruits Xavier Coates, Nick Meaney and Josh King.

The decision to allow Brandon Smith to serve his one-match suspension in All Stars is a huge boost for Craig Bellamy's team.   

The Storm lost 30-18 to the Warriors and beat the Knight 24-10 in their pre-season trials, while the Tigers suffered a 28-14 defeat by Manly before coming from behind to down the Roosters 16-8.

Sportsbet Betting preview: Wests Tigers v Storm

The Rundown

Team news

Wests Tigers: No changes in the updated squad released 24 hours before kick-off.

Jackson Hastings, Oliver Gildart and Tyrone Peachey have been named to play their first game for the club. Hastings will play five-eighth alongside Luke Brooks while Gildart is in the centres and Peachey on the interchange.

Jake Simpkin starts at hooker with Jacob Liddle sidelined by a knee injury while Alex Twal starts for co-captain James Tamou, who returns from suspension in round two.

Luke Garner has recovered from an ankle injury to take his place on the bench.

Storm: Co-captain Jesse Bromwich is out after being deemed a close contact of a COVID-19 case and his place in the starting side is taken by Nelson Asofa-Solomona. Dean Ieremia and Tepai Moeroa are the new faces on the interchange and Jayden Nikorima dropped out of the squad 24 hours before kick-off.

A huge boost for the Storm with star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen (ankle) named to play while the man who filled the No.1 jersey in the trials, Nick Meaney, has been named at five-eighth.

Brandon Smith will start at hooker with Harry Grant suspended. Impressive rookie Tyran Wishart has won a spot on the bench.

Former Knight Josh King starts at lock and former Bronco Xavier Coates is on the wing.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Daine Laurie
    Fullback for Storm is number 1 Ryan Papenhuyzen
  • Winger for Wests Tigers is number 2 David Nofoaluma
    Winger for Storm is number 2 George Jennings
  • Centre for Wests Tigers is number 3 James Roberts
    Centre for Storm is number 3 Reimis Smith
  • Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Oliver Gildart
    Centre for Storm is number 4 Justin Olam
  • Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Ken Maumalo
    Winger for Storm is number 5 Xavier Coates
  • Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Jackson Hastings
    Five-Eighth for Storm is number 6 Nick Meaney
  • Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke Brooks
    Halfback for Storm is number 7 Jahrome Hughes

Forwards

  • Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 Alex Twal
    Prop for Storm is number 10 Christian Welch
  • Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Jake Simpkin
    Hooker for Storm is number 9 Brandon Smith
  • Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 Stefano Utoikamanu
    Prop for Storm is number 17 Nelson Asofa-Solomona
  • 2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Kelma Tuilagi
    2nd Row for Storm is number 11 Felise Kaufusi
  • 2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Luciano Leilua
    2nd Row for Storm is number 12 Kenneath Bromwich
  • Lock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Joe Ofahengaue
    Lock for Storm is number 13 Josh King

Interchange

  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Tyrone Peachey
    Interchange for Storm is number 14 Tyran Wishart
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Luke Garner
    Interchange for Storm is number 16 Trent Loiero
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Zane Musgrove
    Interchange for Storm is number 19 Alec MacDonald
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Alex Seyfarth
    Interchange for Storm is number 25 Tepai Moeroa

Reserves

  • Replacement for Wests Tigers is number 18 Thomas Mikaele
    Replacement for Storm is number 22 Bronson Garlick

Match Officials

  • Referee: Chris Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
  • Touch Judge: Nick Beashel
  • Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy

Last updated:

Key match-up

Luke Brooks v Jahrome Hughes: With star five-eighths Adam Doueihi (knee) and Cameron Munster (suspended) missing, it will be up to the rival halfbacks to take control for their respective teams in the season opener. Brooks will be ably assisted by new recruit Jackson Hastings but the player named in the Storm No.6 jersey, Nick Meaney, has played all of his previous 65 NRL matches for Newcastle and Canterbury at wing or fullback. 

Stat Attack

Wests Tigers have a habit of starting the season well and they will be looking to maintain that record against a Storm side missing Cameron Munster and Harry Grant. The Tigers lost to Canberra in last year's opening round but had won their first match of the season on the previous six occasions. The Storm have not lost to the Tigers since 2018.

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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