Wests Tigers will look to put Sunday’s Townsville heartbreak behind them when they travel to Brisbane to tackle the high-flying Broncos.
Having taken one of the competition heavyweights to the wire, the Tigers should be walking that little bit taller, but the deflating nature of the loss will have left them feeling flat.
The Broncos, meanwhile, continue to march on and are now inside the top four with all their remaining matches against sides currently below them on the ladder.
Their renaissance under the astute leadership of Adam Reynolds has been remarkable and with a top-four finish at their mercy they can dare to dream of a first premiership since 2006.
Broncos: Origin winger Selwyn Cobbo (concussion) remains sidelined but Billy Walters (hip) is back on deck at hooker so Jake Turpin goes to the reserves. Delouise Hoeter replaces Jordan Periera (illness) on the wing while Deine Mariner makes his debut at center pushing Brenko Lee to the reserves. Te Maire Martin has been named 18th Man as he nears a return from a rib injury.
Wests Tigers: Alex Seyfarth comes into the back row for Luke Garner in the only change to the starting 13 that was lost in heartbreaking circumstances to the Cowboys. Austin Dias is the new face on the bench. Interim coach Brett Kimmorley missed the Cowboys game after testing positive to COVID but he’ll be back calling the shots this week, along with football boss Tim Sheens.
Kotoni Staggs v Brent Naden: With 72 tackle breaks and 10 line breaks for the season, Staggs is one of the most explosive centers in the game and he’ll be looking to build up the revs in the run to the finals. Staggs’ speed, footwork and power make him a nightmare proposition for defenders and Naden is sure to have his hands full of him, but his two-try effort against the Cowboys after four weeks on the sideline was all class and he’ll be out to finish the season strongly.
The Tigers have lost their last three matches by a combined total of just 11 points (27-26 to Cowboys, 18-16 to Panthers, 28-20 to Eels). That’s a huge improvement on their average losing margin of 24 points between rounds 12-16 against Souths, Manly, Bulldogs and Warriors.