Wests Tigers will be seeking to keep a perfect Monday night record at Leichhardt Oval intact when they host Manly in the final match of the NRL’s second round.
The joint venture’s spiritual home has long been seen as giving the Tigers an edge over their NRL rivals and none more so than on Monday nights.
Since the re-introduction of Monday night football in 2007 the Tigers are undefeated at Leichhardt winning four from four.
However, it has been a little while since the Tigers hosted a game at the suburban ground on a Monday.
This will be Wests first Monday match at Leichhardt since their golden point win over Newcastle in 2011.
Either way it shapes as a tough second round assignment for Trent Barrett’s Sea Eagles who were very disappointing in their opening round loss to Canterbury.
Manly will again be without superstar fullback Brett Stewart as he battles an ongoing hamstring problem. Tom Trbojevic will stay in the No.1 for the visitors. Brayden Wiliame has again been preferred on the wing, despite a mistake-riddled effort against the Dogs.
For the Tigers, who impressed in their round one defeat of the Warriors, the big inclusion is Luke Brooks, who missed round one due to suspension.
Mitchell Moses starred in the win over the Warriors and is glad to have his scrumbase partner back.
“We have worked really hard in the off season together on our combination and I am really looking forward to playing alongside Luke again,” Moses said.
“Jack Littlejohn did a really good job for us there in round one, but I know Luke is itching to get back into it.
“Manly will be up for it after their loss in round one but we will be ready.
“I really enjoy playing at Leichhardt, it is always a great atmosphere.”
The match will be Manly recruit Martin Taupau’s first clash against his old side, after he left the Tigers at the end of last year, despite having a year to run on his contract.
“He will be fired up, we know that,” Moses said.
“It will be a good test for our forwards and I’m sure they can handle that.”
STATS THAT MATTER
* The Tigers have won just eight of 22 matches against Manly, including just one of their past six. The good news for Tigers fans is that seven of those wins have come away from Brookvale, including winning four of six against them at Leichhardt.
* Jamie Lyon is four points shy of bringing up 1300 for Manly. He will be just the second player to do so for the club behind Graham Eadie who finished on 1917 points from 237 matches.
* Brayden Wiliame has now lost all 12 of his first grade matches: six with Parramatta and six with Manly.
Source: Fox Sports Stats