Wests Tigers fired up for crunch match in Campbelltown

Corey Thompson (centre) celebrates with Wests Tigers team mates after scoring a try against the New Zealand Warriors at Campbelltown Sports Stadium in March. Picture: Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos
Corey Thompson (centre) celebrates with Wests Tigers team mates after scoring a try against the New Zealand Warriors at Campbelltown Sports Stadium in March. Picture: Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

It's make-or-break time in Campbelltown this Saturday.

The Wests Tigers will host Newcastle Knights in a must-win clash in round 23 of the NRL season at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.

The Tigers sit in 11th spot on the ladder and need to win their last two games to stay in contention for the finals.

Standing in their way are the Knights, who sit in 10th place and also need to secure two victories.

Tigers fullback Corey Thompson told the Advertiser that he couldn't wait to return to Campbelltown for the crucial contest.

"The fans down here are so loyal, they come out and support the Wests Tigers," the Macarthur Heights resident said.

"We had a great win there against the Warriors earlier in the year, I think there should be more games at Campbelltown and Leichhardt Oval."

Thompson, 29, said the Tigers players were "trying to take the pressure off ourselves" ahead of Saturday night's contest.

"We want to win the last two games and be in good form for either next year, or the post season [finals]," he said.

The Tigers will be full of confidence after winning their last encounter against the Knights.

Robbie Farah celebrated his 300th game in style as the Tigers sealed a 28-26 win over the Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium last month.

Thompson said he expected a tough challenge from the Knights, led by their star fullback Kalyn Ponga.

"We are prepared for whatever they throw at us," he said.

"We have put in places to make it hard for Kalyn to get involved. Our backrowers will be the key in particular because he can put on a good step and pass."

Newcastle fullback Kalyn Ponga shapes as a key figure against the Tigers on Saturday night. Picture: Darren Pateman/AAP

Newcastle fullback Kalyn Ponga shapes as a key figure against the Tigers on Saturday night. Picture: Darren Pateman/AAP

Tigers winger and Ruse product David Nofoaluma told the Advertiser that his team remained a "slight chance" of making the finals.

Nofoaluma said the Tigers hoped to use their home ground advantage to great effect.

"I'm definitely keen to get down to Campbelltown, it's one of our homes," he said. "Hopefully we will get a good crowd there.

"Campbelltown is a good community and I know a lot of people there who are really into the Wests Tigers. They are loyal and stick through the ups and downs."

Nofoaluma said the Knights would be confident after they secured a 42-6 win over the North Queensland Cowboys last week. Meanwhile, the Tigers fell 32-12 to Manly Sea Eagles.

"The Knights were tough last time we played but we were able to clinch a last minute win," the winger said.

"The Knights have a good squad and we're both trying to fight for a chance at finals."

Nofoaluma said the Tigers were focused on "winning game by game" to remain in the hunt for finals.

Wests hasn't played in the NRL finals series since 2011.

"We probably should be higher [on the ladder]," the 25-year-old said.

"Personally, at this time of the year, I put everything out on the field because I know the feeling of missing out.

"In previous years, we're finished earlier than now. So the club is definitely improving."

The Tigers will face Newcastle Knights at Campbelltown Sports Stadium this Saturday, August 24 at 5.30pm.

Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma looks to palm off his Newcastle opponent during a game earlier this year. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma looks to palm off his Newcastle opponent during a game earlier this year. Picture: Jonathan Carroll