Ultimate Guide: Tigers make change to bench

Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire has made a change for Friday's game with Jacob Liddle dropping out of the squad.

This means the Tigers will run with a four-forward front interchange.

Liddle's exclusion sees Matt Eisenhuth come on to the bench as a reserve, with Chris McQueen and Tommy Talau included in the travelling squad to Newcastle.

Josh Reynolds has also dropped out of the 21-man squad.

The nib Newcastle Knights will be looking to end a three-match losing streak on Friday evening against the Wests Tigers at Beanies for Brain Cancer Stadium.

Sitting in eighth position following last week’s 48-10 loss to the Roosters, coach Nathan Brown has stuck with the same team to do the job this week.

The Knights and Tigers will play for the Allan McMahon Shield, contested in honour of the late Balmain outside back and Newcastle foundation coach.

NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS v WESTS TIGERS

Date: Friday, July 26

Kick-off: 6.00pm

Venue: Beanie for Brain Cancer Stadium

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Played: 26

Knights: 13

Tigers: 13

TEAMS

Knights

1. Kalyn Ponga, 2. Hymel Hunt, 3. Tautau Moga, 4. Jesse Ramien, 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6. Kurt Mann, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. David Klemmer, 9. Danny Levi, 10. Daniel Saifiti, 11. Mitch Barnett, 12. Sione Mata'utia, 13. Tim Glasby. Interchange: 14. Connor Watson, 15. James Gavet, 16. Herman Ese'ese, 17. Jamie Buhrer, 18. Jacob Saifiti, 20. Mason Lino

Tigers

1. Corey Thompson, 2. Paul Momirovski, 3. Moses Mbye, 4. Esan Marsters, 5. David Nofoaluma, 6. Benji Marshall, 7. Luke Brooks, 8. Josh Aloiai, 9. Robbie Farah, 10. Oliver Clark, 11. Luke Garner, 12. Michael Chee Kam, 13. Ryan Matterson. Interchange: 15. Thomas Mikaele, 16. Alex Twal, 17. Chris Lawrence, 18. Matt Eisenhuth, 19. Tommy Talau, 20. Chris McQueen

LEVERAGING THE LADDER

In a competition as fiercely contested as the NRL, the consequences of winning or losing can result in any number of outcomes on the premiership ladder.

With four points separating eight teams all vying for a place in the finals, Friday’s clash will take on additional importance as the eighth-placed Knights look to keep the twelfth-placed Tigers at a distance.

Maintaining a positive for-and-against differential despite last week’s heavy loss to the reigning premiers, the Knights remain in contention to claim a home final, however with a number of sides finding form with September around the corner coach Nathan Brown will be sure to have the side focused on managing their fortunes 80 minutes at a time.

INSPIRING FUTURE GENERATIONS

Few players have been as influential as Benji Marshall and Kalyn Ponga in capturing the imagination of young rugby league fans.

Facing off for the third time on Friday evening, the two superstars will light up Beanies for Brain Cancer Stadium in a showdown between a young prodigy oozing confidence and skill and a veteran best known for his iconic sidestep and flick pass.

Boasting respective highlight reels filled with moments emulated throughout junior league around the globe, look for Ponga to upstage Marshall with an effort similar to his ankle-breaking sidestep when the two sides last met twelve months ago.

ALLAN MCMAHON SHIELD

16 years after his passing the legacy left by Allan McMahon continues to be felt at the Knights.

Starting out as a player with Balmain before coaching Newcastle in their inaugural 1988 season until mid-1991, the foundations laid by McMahon during the Knights formative years resonate to this very day.

Developing the club ethos of ‘be the player everyone wants to play with’, the Knights will have added incentive on Friday night as they look to reclaim the shield named in his honour after going down 25-16 in the corresponding fixture last season.

KNIGHTS STAT ATTACK

The Knights have only lost once at home when leading the Wests Tigers at halftime.

TIGERS STAT ATTACK

Robbie Farah will become only the 39th player to reach 300 NRL games.

CANTERBURY CUP

Knights v Magpies at St John Oval, 3.00pm Saturday.

JERSEY FLEGG

Knights v Tigers at St John Oval, 1.30pm Saturday.