Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
The Wests Tigers have had little success in the NRL over the past decade, with the club failing to make the top eight since 2011.
Fans of the Tigers will be hoping their fortunes change this year and will be clamouring for a win in these five games.
ROUND 4 – PARRAMATTA EELS
Parramatta versus the Wests Tigers has become an Easter Monday staple over the past decade, with the fixture drawing a crowd of less than 30,000 on just two occasions since this game became an annual tradition in 2014.
Both clubs are also in the Western Sydney area, giving this clash local bragging rights too.
ROUND 5 – NORTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS
In the first of three games, the Tigers will be playing at Leichhardt Oval in 2021 they take on the North Queensland Cowboys.
Balmain Tigers fans, in particular, will surely be filling the stands and hill on gameday, as games at Leichhardt Oval act as a great reminder of our game’s history.
This game taking place against North Queensland also adds intrigue, due to the Wests Tigers winning their first and to this point only Grand Final against the Cowboys back in 2005.
On that memorable night, Benji Marshall caused the Rugby League world to stand still with his flick pass to Pat Richards which led to a try and an eventual victory for the Tigers.
Ripping in before Round 1 🔥💪 pic.twitter.com/mtRiXjFqwG
— Wests Tigers (@WestsTigers) March 10, 2021
ROUND 8 – ST.GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS
At the time of writing, the Dragons are one of the favourites to win the wooden spoon in 2021, with opinions on the Tigers being varied.
Some people believe the Tigers will finish in the bottom four and are in danger of winning their first wooden spoon, while others think that they will be pushing the top eight.
If St.George Illawarra is having a widely predicted poor season and manage to beat the Tigers, then the orange and black critics will emerge in great numbers, with Wests’ form to likely dive into a loss to the Dragons.
ROUND 13 – PENRITH PANTHERS
Penrith will be the second side to take on the Tigers at Leichhardt Oval in 2021 and will not be easy beats.
The Tigers will have their paws full with the defending minor premiers, but victory over a powerhouse will not be the only source of motivation for Wests to get the win in this one.
Since Ivan Cleary returned to the Panthers in 2019, tensions have been high between the two sides, as Tigers fans believe Cleary turned his back on the club.
A close game in early 2020 went the Penrith way and was sealed by a kiss blown by Cleary to infuriated Tigers fans, and ever since the orange and black faithful have been salivating over the thought of their boys thrashing the Panthers.
ROUND 21 – CANTERBURY BANKSTOWN BULLDOGS
This encounter marks the third “Battle of the West” fixture on this list as the Tigers take on local rivals the Bulldogs.
Hopefully, this game can live up to the standard of the last meeting between these two clubs, as in round 14 of the 2020 NRL season we were treated to a classic.
The Tigers would stage a late comeback to beat Canterbury Bankstown 29-28 at BankWest Stadium, and the neutrals will be anticipating another close game.