The Tigers were in trouble early against the Knights last week before saving their season with a 28-26 win in one of the most entertaining games of 2019.

They are one of six teams competing for eighth spot and have a favourable run home against the Cowboys, Bulldogs, Sea Eagles, Knights, Dragons and Sharks, with two of those games at Leichhardt and one at Campbelltown.

The Tigers will relish being back at their spiritual home Leichhardt on Thursday against a Cowboys side that must win at least five of its final six games to have any chance of playing finals.

Match: Wests Tigers v Cowboys

Round 20 -

Full Time
Wests Tigers

Home Team

Wests Tigers

Scored 28 points
Cowboys

Away Team

Cowboys

Scored 4 points

Venue: Leichhardt Oval, Sydney

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network
  • Foxtel
  • LIVE PASS

The Rundown

Team news

Wests Tigers: The Tigers are 1-17, with no changes to the side which took down the Knights in Newcastle in round 19. Michael Chee Kam was hospitalised after being knocked out late in the game but has been named to face the Cowboys pending concussion protocols. Tommy Talau and Chris McQueen were trimmed from the squad on game day and Jacob Liddle and Josh Reynolds were cut from the extended bench 24 hours before kick-off.

Cowboys: North Queensland are also 1-17 as named on Tuesday. Michael Morgan returns after a three-week absence recovering from concussion. John Asiata goes back to the bench and Corey Jensen is out of the 17. Coen Hess has been retained as the starting centre after impressing with 16 runs for 130 metres against the Sharks. Tom Gilbert and Gideon Gela-Mosby dropped off the reserves list an hour before kick-off, while Corey Jensen and Reuben Cotter were cut from the playing squad on Wednesday night.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Corey Thompson
    Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Scott Drinkwater
  • Winger for Wests Tigers is number 2 Paul Momirovski
    Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
  • Centre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Moses Mbye
    Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Coen Hess
  • Centre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Esan Marsters
    Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Tom Opacic
  • Winger for Wests Tigers is number 5 David Nofoaluma
    Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Murray Taulagi
  • Five-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Benji Marshall
    Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Michael Morgan
  • Halfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Luke Brooks
    Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Jake Clifford

Forwards

  • Prop for Wests Tigers is number 8 Josh Aloiai
    Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Josh McGuire
  • Hooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Robbie Farah
    Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Jake Granville
  • Prop for Wests Tigers is number 10 Oliver Clark
    Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLean
  • 2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Luke Garner
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Gavin Cooper
  • 2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Michael Chee-Kam
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Shane Wright
  • Lock for Wests Tigers is number 13 Ryan Matterson
    Lock for Cowboys is number 13 Jason Taumalolo

Interchange

  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Matthew Eisenhuth
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 John Asiata
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 15 Thomas Mikaele
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Matthew Scott
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Alex Twal
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 16 Scott Bolton
  • Interchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Chris Lawrence
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 17 Francis Molo

Key match-up

Luke Brooks was once the NRL's most-hyped young halfback and Cowboys No.7 Jake Clifford now wears a similar tag. At his best, Brooks is a poised game-manager and Clifford must mirror his opponent in the organisation stakes if he's to marshal the Cowboys to victory.

For the Tigers to win

Coach Michael Maguire would love to see a dominant opening 20 minutes and avoid having to play catch-up. The Tigers fought back gamely and got the job done against Newcastle but they need to prove they can get an early lead and stay there. They need to match the experienced Cowboys pack and get the ball as often as possible to their money man - Corey Thompson.

For the Cowboys to win

Clifford keeps showing glimpses of his potential but doesn't have the experience to pull his team together and call the right shots when games get close late in the second half. John Asiata needs to offer more assistance in terms of game management, while the star-studded pack has to lead the way. Speedy fullback Scott Drinkwater needs more touches of the ball.

Brett Kimmorley says

An emotional victory for Wests Tigers last week in Robbie Farah’s 300th game. They also responded to some strong words from their coach. Back at Leichhardt Oval – they will love that. The Cowboys just relied on a high completion rate last week, they didn’t ask a great deal of questions. The Cowboys are stretching themselves at this time of the year with injuries and poor mistakes. Wests Tigers by 8

Stat Attack

It's one thing to latch onto Cowboys wrecking-ball Jason Taumalolo, it's another to bring him to ground. The Tongan giant's perpetually-pumping legs have powered him to second in the NRL for post-contact metres with 946 – and that's despite missing five matches with injury.

And another thing ... 

Revenge is a dish best served cold and the Cowboys will be out to pile it on the Tigers' plate after a gut-wrenching extra-time loss on home turf in round 14. The Tigers led 20-6 at half-time before the Cowboys surged back into the contest and took the lead 12 minutes from full-time. The visitors regained the lead with Michael Chee Kam's converted try but Jake Clifford sent the game into golden point with a 78th-minute penalty goal. The Tigers had the final say with Benji Marshall nailing a field goal for a 27-26 triumph.