New Zealand Warriors v Wests Tigers Saturday, May 5, 5:30pm (AEST) Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
The Warriors were hammered by the Storm on ANZAC Day and will be looking to bounce back when they host the Tigers in Auckland on Saturday night. The cause will be helped by the return of key troops in Shaun Johnson, Tohu Harris and Solomone Kata. Issac Luke has been named at hooker but would have to be in major doubt, with Karl Lawton and Sam Cook named in the squad as cover. The Tigers have lost their last two matches by a combined margin of four points and could have arguably won both matches against the Knights and Eels. The Tigers will also be strengthened by the returns of Elijah Taylor and Alex Twal.
FormNew Zealand turned in their worst half of football all season when trailing Melbourne 38-0 before eventually losing 50-10. The Warriors are now third on the ladder with a 6-2 record. The Warriors rank sixth in scoring and eighth in defence. The Warriors have now lost two of their last three. The Wests Tigers are now fifth with a 5-3 record. The Tigers have fallen to third in defence while they are the eighth best attacking team. The Tigers have now lost their last two, conceding 22-plus in each.
Key MatchupShaun Johnson v Luke Brooks: Shaun Johnson’s return couldn’t come at a better time for the Warriors, especially after the poor showing against the Storm last week. Johnson’s understudy, Mason Lino did a good job in Johnson’s absence but SJ is the man in Auckland! Luke Brooks went away from his running game last week and needs to challenge the tired Warriors forwards at every opportunity. It’s important that Brooks doesn’t go back into his shell on the back of consecutive losses for the Tigers.
Stats That Matter– New Zealand are 6-2 ATS with a 5-3 under record while the Wests Tigers are 6-2 ATS with a 4-4 total number. – The Wests Tigers have won four straight against New Zealand with three of those being by margins of 12 or more. – The Tigers have won two of the last three at Mt Smart. – The last six matches have all topped 44 points. – The Tigers have covered five straight and 11 of their last 13 as an underdog and 15 of their last 18 as an underdog of 4 or more. – The Warriors have covered 8 of their last 12 at Mt Smart but just 5 of their last 18 as a favourite and 2 of their last 12 when favoured by 4 or more. – The Warriors are 5-11 ATS with a 12-4 over record when playing at Mt Smart off a loss of 10-plus points. – Home teams who conceded 50 the start prior are 25-14 ATS with a 26-13 over record since 2008 while home favourites are 10-7 ATS with a 12-5 over record. – The Tigers have covered 8 of their last 10 games away from their three home grounds. – The Tigers are 22-15 ATS after conceding 24 or more points while they are 7-2 ATS in their last nine interstate games. – The Tigers have covered 11 of their last 14 day games.
Final ThoughtsThe Wolf is really looking forward to this contest between 3rd-placed Warriors against the 5th-placed Tigers, and is expecting a tight affair. The Tigers have lost three matches this season by a combined margin of six points and could be on the end of another heart-breaking loss in Auckland. Back the Warriors to win by 1-12 points.
How It’s Shaping UpNew Zealand by 2
Recommended BetsBest: New Zealand 1-12 ($3) Value: New Zealand 1-12 & Over 39.5 ($6.50) First Tryscorer: Ken Maumalo ($10)