With a quality spine and several attacking weapons, Jason Taylor’s side presents a significantly more dangerous prospect than their four-game winless run may suggest.
Wests Tigers snapped a five-game losing streak last time they faced Storm in Round 21 of last year. That game was also at Leichhardt Oval, a place Craig Bellamy’s side has won just twice from their last nine visits.
Storm will be out to shake off that poor record and here are some of the key factors to consider ahead of Sunday’s game.
Arguably the most dangerous player in the NRL after six rounds. He leads the competition in tries scored, line breaks and just last week broke the record for most tries by a Wests Tigers fullback. The 23-year-old has scored six tries in his last four games at Leichhardt Oval including a double against Storm in Round 21 last year.
The consistency of halves pairing Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks has not quite matched that of their fullback but as a trio they are just as dynamic. The three-pronged playmakers are the reason Wests Tigers still have the NRL’s sixth best attack despite their poor run of form. Brooks and Moses have six try assists each to their name, ranking them equal fourth in the competition. Both players are pivotal to Wests Tigers strong short-kicking game and should they start to fire, significant headaches are guaranteed for Storm’s defence.
Wests Tigers still have a decent forward pack without their skipper but there is no hiding how significant the loss of Aaron Woods is for the home side. The NSW prop ranks third in the NRL for metres gained but will miss the next six weeks after suffering an ankle injury. Ava Seumanufagi will now step into the starting forward pack alongside an in-form Tim Grant. Dene Halatau and Chris Lawrence will also share the captaincy duties in the big man’s absence.