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NRL 2016 - Rnd 1 - Tigers vs Warriors Gameday Chatter
Campbelltown Stadium


Wests Tigers v Warriors: Schick Preview
Wed 02 Mar, 2016, 4:10pm
By Martin Gabor‌, National Correspondent

Schick Preview: Wests Tigers v Warriors
Campbelltown Stadium
Saturday 5.30pm

A new year brings new hope to two sides aiming to play finals football for the time since 2011.

New skippers Aaron Woods and Ryan Hoffman have been charged with the responsibility of leading their sides in 2016, and the NSW State of Origin teammates will want to start their tenure with a first-up win.

The Tigers are seen as a youthful side with the potential to put on points in a hurry. The Warriors, meanwhile, are the sleeping giants of the NRL and could soon become competition heavyweights after some terrific off-season recruiting.

The Tigers will begin the new season without their two best dummy-halves, with both Robbie Farah and Matt Ballin out with knee injuries. Dene Halatau and halfback Luke Brooks will also miss the Round 1 clash through suspension.

Manaia Cherrington will deputise at No.9, while Jack Littlejohn will make his club debut in place of Brooks. Jordan Rankin has edged Justin Hunt for the left wing spot and former Eel Josh Aloiai looks set to make his NRL debut off the bench.

The Warriors will unleash a revamped spine, with New Zealand internationals Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Issac Luke partnering Shaun Johnson and former Shark Jeff Robson. Blake Ayshford is another new recruit set to run out for the visitors in Round 1, while Ben Henry makes his long-awaited return from a serious knee injury in the run-on side. Highly touted Nathaniel Roache will make his NRL debut off the bench in the utility role.

Watch out Tigers: Shaun Johnson is back from injury, and if his Auckland Nines form is anything to go by he means business. Johnson has been named at five-eighth with Jeff Robson to play halfback, but it's hard to imagine his role changing too much. The Kiwis No.7 had another stellar 2015, scoring eight tries, setting up 11 more and breaking the line on 13 occasions. There was no surprise to see a correlation between his absence and the Warriors' poor finish to the year. If his big forwards can give him the time and space he craves, the Tigers could be in trouble. The fact he now has Issac Luke and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to help him can only be a good thing.

Watch out Warriors: They'd love to get their 2016 campaign off to a flying start, but the Warriors will have to overcome a terrible Round 1 record that has seen them winless in opening fixtures since 2009. With games against 2015 top-four sides the Broncos and Storm in the next two weeks, Saturday evening's match shapes as a crunch game for Andrew McFadden's men.

Key match-up: James Tedesco v Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. The two highest scoring NRL Fantasy fullbacks in 2015 go head-to-head in what should be a free-flowing affair. Tedesco scored more tries and had more tackle breaks than his Warriors counterpart last season, but Roger Tuivasa-Sheck made more metres, had more try assists and broke the line more often. With temperatures set to reach the mid 30s on Saturday, expect these two attacking weapons to wreak havoc in the reduced interchange era.

The History: Played 25; Wests Tigers 12, Warriors 13. The sides split their two encounters last season, with the home side getting up on both occasions. Campbelltown Stadium hasn't been a happy hunting ground for the visitors, who have conceded 50 points on their last two visits to the venue. The Warriors will be looking for their first win at the ground since 2008.

What are the odds: There was a little bit of money around for a Tigers upset with Sportsbet until the injury to Robbie Farah. Since then, the Warriors have come in from $1.60 and all of the late money has been with the visitors to prevail by 13 points or more in margin betting.

Match officials: Referee: Ashley Klein. Assistant Referee: Chris Sutton. Sideline Officials: Ricky McFarlane and Russel Turner. Review Officials: Bryan Norrie and Steve Chiddy.

Televised: Fox Sports 1, Live, 5:30pm AEDT.

The way we see it: No Farah, Ballin, Brooks or Halatau gives the Warriors a great chance to end their Round 1 hoodoo. The Tigers will be keen to get their season going with four of their first five games at home, but against a side littered with international talent, they might have to wait a while. Warriors by 10.

Wests Tigers
1 James Tedesco
2 David Nofoaluma
3 Tim Simona
4 Kevin Naiqama
5 Jordan Rankin
6 Mitchell Moses
7 Jack Littlejohn
8 Aaron Woods (c)
9 Manaia Cherrington
10 Tim Grant
11 Curtis Sironen
12 Chris Lawrence
13 Sauaso Sue

14 Kyle Lovett
15 Josh Aloiai
16 Ava Seumanufagai
17 Jack Buchanan
18 Michael Chee Kam

Coach: Jason Taylor

Jack Littlejohn earns his club debut with Luke Brooks out suspended. Manaia Cherrington will go it alone at hooker with Matt Ballin and Robbie Farah (both knee) out. Dene Halatau's suspension means Josh Aloiai will make his NRL debut. Recruit Jordan Rankin will take Pat Richards' spot on the wing.

1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
2 Tuimoala Lolohea
3 Blake Ayshford
4 Solomone Kata
5 Manu Vatuvei
6 Shaun Johnson
7 Jeff Robson
8 Jacob Lillyman
9 Issac Luke
10 Ben Matulino
11 Ben Henry
12 Ryan Hoffman (c)
13 Simon Mannering

14 Nathaniel Roache
15 Sam Lisone
16 James Gavet
17 Bodene Thompson
18 Jonathan Wright
20 Albert Vete

Coach: Andrew McFadden

The Warriors have named a new-look spine with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Jeff Robson and Issac Luke all to debut for the club. Blake Ayshford and James Gavet will also make their Warriors debuts with Tuimoala Lolohea pushed out to the wing and Konrad Hurrell omitted. Dummy-half Nathaniel Roache will make his NRL debut from the bench.
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I am nervous about today's game as will. It feels like we are playing a sudden death game but we are not its only the first game FFS. With the expectations on the spine to perform, breaking the losing streak and for Cappy to show us he knows what he is doing. There is so much riding on tonight's game. After the results of manly and parramatta I even more nervous. Time for a drink;)
Just reading the Tigers forum.
They have a thread on our team. First post is "how did Ashford make it?" Haha.
They seem to be pinning their hopes on simona and tedesco toweling up Ashford and naiqama doing the same to Kata on the other side. Which is all fair enough.
On the flip side I hope we can get plenty of ball to kata and manu coz that's a bit of a mismatch against naiqama and rankin ( he's got no chance of stopping Manu close to the line).
I think the Warriors amnesia has kicked in now because despite the fact the Tigers gave us an absolute flogging last time we played and despite the fact the dragons also gave us one just two weeks ago I'm actually expecting to win this one- and comfortably.
Issac Luke mom.
Manu first try scorer.
Roger to show exactly why he's the best fullback in the world.

Isaac to show how desperately we've been missing world-class quality at dummy half.

Shaun to show why he's the most devastating runner of the ball in world league, in his new home in the 6 jersey.

Rest of em just have to show up, do their job professionally and to high standards, and we flog this team.

Awesome. It's Game Day. And just like those two Rabbitohs fans who used to wear to every game, TV aerial (Bunny Ears) from TV where they last saw them win Grand Final in 1970s, I've still got remote control to TV when I first watch NZ Warriors play their first game back in 1995 ready to change the channel if we start to lose ! Let's go Warriors ! :)
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