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ROUND THREE PREVIEW | New Zealand Warriors Vs St George-Illawarra Dragons

Brad Inger previews the round 3 clash between the New Zealand Warriors and the St George Illawarra Dragons; This is what we have to look forward to.

FORM LINE

New Zealand Warriors

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The Warriors have earnt plenty of praise for their long term move to Australia to help the season restart. But praise can only take the side so far, and their fans will be hopeful that the Warriors have used this two-month hiatus to address their gameplan after back to embarrassing losses against the Newcastle Knights and Canberra Raiders. After only scoring 6 points (via a penalty try) in the first two rounds, a much-needed boost to the Warriors attack is sorely needed to keep the Road Warriors season afloat.

St George Dragons

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Much like the Warriors, the Dragons start to 2020 has been forgetful, suffering losses to the Wests Tigers and Penrith Panthers. Unlike the Warriors, the Dragons have been able to score plenty of points, but it’s their defence that has let them down, conceding 56 points to date. Some much-needed players have returned from injury which will help the Dragons attempt tp get their season back on track.

SQUAD NEWS

New Zealand Warriors

After an injury-plagued lockdown, the Warriors look completely different from the side that lost in round 2. Gerard Beale returns in the centres after a lengthy time off with a severe patella injury. Patrick Herbert and Peta Hiku also return to the side after missing the round 2 match against the Raiders on compassionate grounds. Kodi Nikorima moves from the bench int the halves to partner Blake Green, seeing Chanel Harris-Tavita move to the extended bench, joined by new loan signing Jack Murchie.

1.Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2.Patrick Herbert 3.Peta Hiku 4.Gerard Beale 5.Ken Maumalo 6.Kodi Nikorima 7.Blake Green 8.Lachlan Burr 9.Wayde Egan 10.Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 11.Isaiah Papali’i 12.Tohu Harris 13.Adam Blair 14.Karl Lawton 15.King Vuniyayawa 16.Agnatius Paasi 17.Eliesa Katoa 18.Chanel Harris-Tavita 20.Josh Curran 21.Adam Pompey 22.Jack Murchie

St George Dragons

The Dragons welcome the return of Cameron McInnes, Tariq Sims, Korbin Sims and Mikaele Ravalawa. Zac Lomax has been moved to the centres, and Tim Lafai and former Warrior Issac Luke have been omitted from the 21.

1.Matthew Duffy 2.Jordan Pereira 3.Brayden Williame 4.Zac Lomax 5.Mikaele Ravalawa 6.Corey Norman 7.Ben Hunt 8. Korbin Sims 9.Cameron McInnes 10.Paul Vaughan 11.Tyson Frizell 12.Tariq Sims 13.James Graham 14.Josh Kerr 15.Blake Lawrie 16.Tyrell Fuimaono 17.Euan Aitken 18.Trent Merrin 19.Adam Clune 20.Jacob Host 21.Jackson Ford

KEY STAT

The clashes between the Warriors and Dragons have been dominated in the past by the Dragons, winning 21 of 29 matches so they will be coming into this game confident. The Warriors, however, have had the last laugh, winning the previous encounter between the sides 26-18 in 2019.

BATTLE TO WATCH

My battle to watch is between giant wingers Ken Maumalo and Mikael Ravalawa.

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The Warriors 2019 leading try-scorer has not had the most exceptional start to 2020, being a mere shadow of the rampaging runner that terrified defences last season. If the Warriors want to lock in their first win of the year, then they will need to get Maumalo involved early and often. Look for Peta Hiku to give Maumalo plenty of chances to get on the scoreboard down the left edge.

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Mikaele Ravalawa’s potential outweighs his inexperience tenfold. Strong and fierce with the ball in hand, he can turn any one on one situation into a tryscoring opportunity. The Dragons will need to use the same approach as the Warriors and get the ball to Ravalawa as often as they can.

GAME DETAILS

Both sides will be desperate to get their first win of the season, and it may lead to an exciting encounter. The Warriors depth has been tested, but the Dragons forwards will be the deciding factor in this match. The Dragons pack outclasses the Warriors severely, and unless the Warriors can disrupt the momentum created by this massive pack, then the Dragons will walk away with the victory.

Date: 30th May
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
Kick-off: 3:00 PM (5:00 PM NZ Time)

Match Prediction: Dragons by 10

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