It’s Round 20 in the NRL Telstra Premiership and the race for a top eight finish is heating up amongst respective clubs. While the Roosters are fighting their way to the top, the Tigers are fighting their way off the bottom, which makes for an interesting clash this Friday night at ANZ Stadium.
If there is anything we know about the Tigers in 2015 it’s that they are completely unpredictable.
It wasn’t long ago that they came out against the defending Premiers South Sydney on their home turf and laid on try after try to produce one of the big upsets of the season.
The Roosters on the other hand are flying high after an on and off start to the season.
If there is one thing we know about this competition though, it’s that there is no such thing as an easy win, and the Roosters will need to turn up ready to play or they might just get pounced on by surprise.
Heavyweight eights: There are some tough competitors in the NRL, some of which wear red, white and blue. However, one of the toughest and damaging forwards in the game is Aaron Woods.
Coming off a sensational Origin performance, Woods will line-up for the Tigers and his opposing number eight Jared Waerea-Hargreaves will need to be at his barn storming best against the big Blues prop.
Fun on the edges: Everyone will have their own opinion about this game, but there is no doubt that there is far too much excitement on the edges for these sides. Blake Ferguson is starting to hit his straps at the back end of the year, and he will have an exciting match up in the returning young gun David Nofoaluma.
It wasn’t long ago that Nofoaluma scored the try of the year, not to mention the athleticism and speed he has shown on a regular basis makes for a mouth-watering clash on one edge.
One of the pleasing things that came out of our clinical win over the Warriors was seeing Michael Jennings and Daniel Tupou running in space out wide.
It’s been a relatively quiet period for the former Blues left edge, but last week they combined well and asked plenty of questions. This week the gun pairing will try continue that good form against an exciting edge in its own right, with speedy centre Tim Simona and veteran Pat Richards.
Simona has been devastating in the past for defensive lines, with blinding speed and incredibly athleticism, while outside him comes a veteran with a kicking game that is the most unpredictable in the NRL.
Richards has lit up the highlight reels in recent times with freakish kick offs and kicks inside to teammates. This is one of the big things the Roosters need to look out for this weekend.
Lock: Aidan Guerra has had a topsy turvy career to date in the NRL. He spent time at the Melbourne Storm at the start of his career, but was unable to crack the starting line-up. He was recruited by the Roosters after years at the Storm and made his devastating debut against the Rabbitohs in 2010.
Injury would see him miss more than a year of NRL football, with the backrower injured in the opening rounds of 2010 and not returning until the halfway point of the 2011 season.
He has been in and out of the line-up over the years, but from the back end of 2013 right up until now, he has become one of the more important cogs in the wheel.
This week he will celebrate his long awaited 100th NRL game, all of which have been played for the Sydney Roosters.
For a 100th game though, there will be no walk in the park as he lines up against Martin Tapau, one of the truly devastating big men in the game. The Kiwi representative and former Bulldog has found a home at the Tigers, and seems to be improving at a rapid rate.
After a successful State of Origin campaign for Aidan, he has plenty of confidence to display for his club, and has a big one coming up on Friday night.
There are just seven games remaining in the regular season, and nothing is set in stone at this time of the year.
It’s the closest the competition has been in a long time and each team is as desperate as the next to win.
The Roosters will need to not fall for anything leading into this one, and will need to maintain the clinical attitude that has taken them to big wins in their previous two matches.
As long as the Tigers are not taken lightly, the Roosters will look good to continue their winning streak.
Watch the highlights from the last time we played the Wests Tigers below