After recording their first loss of the season last Sunday against the Bulldogs, Michael Maguire’s side will head up the M4 to take on a Panthers side themselves coming off a bruising defeat in Round 3 at the hands of the Melbourne Storm.
All eyes will be on the number six jersey this week with plenty of interest in whether Benji Marshall will be named after picking up a minor hamstring injury. Marshall did not return after leaving the field in the 65th minute, with Maguire speaking post-match to provide an update on the Kiwi international’s possible inclusion.
Should Marshall miss this week, however, Wests Tigers are still in good hands with arguably the best back-up playmaker in the competition in Josh Reynolds.
Reynolds once again featured for the club’s Canterbury Cup side in Round 3 after making his full return from injury the week before, and will no doubt be ready to slot in if needed this week and combine with Luke Brooks in the halves. Luke Garner (shoulder) will also be monitored throughout the week after picking up a knock in the first half, but the good news for the back-rower was that he was able to return in the second half scoring Wests Tigers’ second try of the game.
His in-game return does bode well for his chances at featuring this Friday, but he’s one to keep an eye on throughout the week as he comes up against a Penrith pack looking to welcome back the likes of co-captain Isaah Yeo and Viliame Kikau. David Nofoaluma will be closing in on a return too after missing the start of the season, with the winger a chance at playing his first game of the year this week.
Nofoaluma’s possible inclusion would have ramifications on the Wests Tigers back-line too with Mahe Fonua currently occupying the right wing spot in his absence while Robert Jennings and Corey Thompson partner out on the left flank.
Both Fonua and Thompson have been in good try-scoring form with four tries between them in the past two games, so it’ll be interesting to see what impact the return of Nofoaluma has for Wests Tigers whatever week it ends up being.
For Penrith, Sione Katoa (groin) and Josh Mansour (shoulder) both made a successful return from injury against Melbourne on the weekend and will be right to go for Friday’s game while both Yeo and Kikau could also be set to return.