Schick Hydro Preview: Wests Tigers v Sydney Roosters
A do-or-die clash awaits for the Wests Tigers when they play host to the Sydney Roosters on Sunday afternoon at Campbelltown Stadium.
Not since 2010 has the fixture made its way to Campbelltown and Ivan Cleary's men will be hoping a change of venue can bring the side a change of luck after a horrible record against the Tricolours in the last six seasons.
After their first bye of the season, the Tigers looked rejuvenated against St George Illawarra with a much-improved performance but once again fell short on the scoreboard to find themselves struggling in 15th position on the Telstra Premiership ladder.
The situation in the east is much brighter for the Tricolours, who are inside the top four having won three of their last four games - their only loss a courageous defeat to a full-strength Raiders line-up in Round 12.
In team news, the Tigers have lost vice-captain Chris Lawrence to a hamstring injury with Sauaso Sue returning from suspension. Young rookie Esan Marsters has been retained on the interchange bench, while Tui Lolohea will play his second game in the halves alongside Jack Littlejohn.
For the Roosters, Mitchell Pearce returns after suffering a concussion in Origin I with Connor Watson moving back to the bench and Zane Tetevano back into the reserves.
Why the Wests Tigers can win: While the Tigers are guilty of being the fourth worst in the Telstra Premiership for errors (139) and missing more tackles than any other side, the fourth-placed Roosters are not much better in those departments.
Incredibly, both the Tricolours and defending premiers Cronulla are tied in the competition for spilling the ball more than any other side yet find themselves in the top four, while both the Tigers and Roosters are ranked the worst in the missed tackle count.
If the home side is going to win, they'll need everything to go their way and a strong performance from their Origin representatives James Tedesco and Aaron Woods.
Why the Roosters can win: Trent Robinson's side have got all the momentum and are finding ways to stay in games – a positive contrast to the 2016 season.
Apart from a blowout scoreline in their loss to the Broncos back in Round 6, their other three losses have been suffered by a margin of one, six and eight points in an indication of the fact they're the real deal this season.
While the high error and missed tackle rate continues to be a concern - similarly to the Sharks – their defensive structures are strong enough to withhold anything that is thrown at them.
KEY MATCH-UP | JARED WAEREA-HARGREAVES V AARON WOODS
13 | PLAYED | 11
409 | TACKLES | 267
1686 | RUN METRES | 1745
16 | OFFLOADS | 21
14 | TACKLE BREAKS | 10
The history: Played 28; Wests Tigers 8; Roosters 20.
The Roosters hold a strong overall record between the two sides, winning 12 of the last 13 games including an average margin of 27 points or more in the last eight battles.
Former NSW winger Daniel Tupou has scored 12 tries in seven appearances against the joint venture, while Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce also enjoys going over for a four-pointer against his father's old club with 10 tries from 14 games.
Match officials: Referee: Grant Atkins. Assistant Referee: Alan Shortall. Touch judges: Dave Ryan and Chris McMillan. Review Officials: Ben Galea and Bernard Sutton.
Televised: Channel 9 & Fox League – Live from 4:00pm.
NRL.com predicts: All signs point to a Sydney Roosters victory with a strong record between the two sides and the Tigers still decimated by injuries to key men.
With the south west of Sydney set for a weekend of rain, we're tipping a closer one to what most are predicting at Campbelltown, but still all in favour of the visitors.
Roosters by 8.
This article first appeared on NRL.COM