The Warriors host the Dragons in the second encounter on a Super Saturday imbued with a bit of magic…
The call before the match from the Dragons camp was to contain Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and for the first forty minutes they were able to keep him in check. There were brief glimpses that the fullback was about to be set loose but some eager and committed defence held the Warriors back. And the inclusion of Nikorima- returning to Suncorp for the first time in different colours- didn’t appear to hinder the Warriors attack. But it was the Dragons who enjoyed much of the early momentum, scoring first through Zac Lomax from close range, then following it up with a long range try to Jai Field. The Warriors were able to get on the board when Agnatius Paasi got one on one with Matt Dufty close to the line and barged over. The Dragons scored their final points of the half through hooker Cameron McInnes, and, after missing a penalty goal attempt, took the lead into the break.
The Dragons would have been wary about blowing another lead, especially after the Warriors were quick to score through Peta Hiku. And suddenly, off the back of a quick play-the-ball and some damaging runs up the middle, the Warriors were finding space out wide. Tuivasa-Sheck, the man the Dragons were desperate to contain, burst into life and brought the scores level through a short side play that sent Fusitu’a over in the corner. The Dragons weren’t out of it and were applying pressure with a late goal line drop out. That was when some old demons returned for Ben Hunt, dropping the ball and any hope the Dragons had of regaining the momentum. The Warriors scored from the next set through Ken Maumalo to gain the lead. The Dragons were desperate to score another but the Warriors finished the match of with a second to Pita Hiku. Their 26-18 victory snapping their recent losing streak and consigning the Dragons to a third straight loss.
FREE SPACE FOR KARL
No.17 Karl Lawton was impressive off the bench. His darts out of dummy half towards the end of the match had the Dragons defence worried. His electric runs helped the Warriors out of their end and maintaining the pressure on the Dragons defence and attack.
two weeks ago, Kodi Nikorima took the field for the Broncos against the Sharks. Two weeks later and he returned to Suncorp in Warriors colours but was still victorious. His involvement in the first half was low but as the Warriors began to gain ascendancy through the middle he combined well with his fellow playmakers. Off the back of his signing, the Warriors will be hoping to string a few wins together.
TAKING THE TWO
The Dragons were deep in attack, with momentum on their side off the back of a 12 point lead, and elected to go for two points off a penalty. The penalty was missed and would have only encouraged the Warriors to continue to apply pressure with their defence. The Dragons have lacked a real killer instinct for a few seasons now and rather than attacking and removing the other team from the match, they have kept the other team interested by taking the two points. These mindset is hurting the team in the back end of games.
46 IN FORTY
Not only is this the second week in a row that the Dragons have watched a half time lead slip, it’s the fourth game this year that they have watched a match they had control of seemingly slip away from them. The Dragons need to take this opportunity to evaluate where the drop off is occurring and whether changes to the 17 are needed.
New Zealand Warriors 26
Tries: Agnatius Paasi, Peta Hiku 2, David Fusitu’a, Ken Maumalo
Goals: Patrick Herbet 3/5
St George Illawarra Dragons 18
Tries: Zac Lomax, Jai Field, Cameron McInnes
Goals: Zac Lomax 3/5
New Zealand Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. David Fusitu’a 3. Peta Hiku 4. Patrick Herbet 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Blake Green 8. Agnatius Paasi 9. Isaac Luke 10. Leeson Ah Mau 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. Tohu Harris 13. Lachlan Burr 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Bunty Afoa 16. Ligi Sao 17. Karl Lawton
St George Illawarra Dragons: 1. Matt Dufty 2. Jordan Pereira 3. Zac Lomax 4. Timoteo Lafai 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Jai Field 7. Ben Hunt 8. James Graham 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Tariq Sims 13. Blake Lawrie 14. Jeremy Lattimore 15. Euan AItken 16. Jacob Host 17. Luciano Leilua