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2022 NRL Round 1 Preview, Warriors Vs Dragons

Craig Cauchi previews the Saturday Round 1 clash between the Warriors and the Dragons.

MATCHDAY NEWS

MATCHDAY SCHEDULE

Warriors vs St George Illawarra Dragons
Venue: Sunshine Coast Stadium
Date: Saturday March 12, 4:30pm

MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS

Related: NRL Team List Tuesday

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Warriors: 1. Chanel Harris-Tavita 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Viliami Vailea 4. Rocco Berry 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Bunty Afoa 11. Euan Aitken 12. Eliesa Katoa 13. Josh Curran 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Ben Murdoch-Masila 16. Aaron Pene 17. Bayley Sironen 18. Jack Murchie 20. Ashley Taylor 21. Adam Pompey 22. Pride Petterson-Robati 23. Taniela Otukolo 24. Jesse Arthars 25. Edward Kosi

The Warriors line up as expected with Shaun Johnson returning to the side while Chanel Harris-Tavita fills in at fullback for the suspended Reece Walsh. Aaron Pene – the new recruit from Melbourne Storm – has been named to make his club debut from the bench.

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Dragons: 1. Tyrell Sloan 2. Cody Ramsey 3. Moses Suli 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Talatau Amone 7. Ben Hunt 8. Blake Lawrie 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Aaron Woods 11. Jack Bird 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack de Belin 14. Moses Mbye 15. Francis Molo 16. Josh Kerr 17. Jack Gosiewski 18. Jackson Ford 19. Mathew Feagai 20. Daniel Alvaro 21. Poasa Faamausili 22. Tautau Moga

The Dragons line up with the same 13 that featured in their Charity Shield win two weeks ago. Their big name recruits have been selected to play minus George Burgess, who has been given more time to return with his hip injury. Tariq Sims remains on the injured list.

Referee: Peter Gough

MATCHDAY PREVIEW

These two teams met twice last year with the results split evenly. Their first match of the year came during an injury crisis to the Warriors. That didn’t stop the New Zealand team from leading for most of the match. It took a wonky field goal from Corey Norman in extra time – after Cody Ramsey scored on the siren – to steal the match for the Dragons. This ended up being the Dragons last win for the 2021 season as they went on an 8 match losing streak.

You should never read into trial form is one of the most spoken phrases at the start of the year. The Dragons trialed strongly, coming out of the two matches looking impressive. The Warriors on the other hand had a disruptive preseason trial period with their match against the Titans postponed before being officially cancelled due to the recent rain. They chalked up a trial victory of Melbourne Storm but it’ll be interesting to see how they perform with such a big distance between their last match.

The battle between the forward packs is set to go off in this round 1 clash. Addin Fonua-Blake returns from injury to lead the Warriors forwards while Eli Katoa is a constant threat down the left hand channel. On the other side of the field we have experienced campaigner Aaron Woods, who is out to prove he can still lead his side through the middle with Jayden Sua – one of the games biggest hitters – lining up opposite Katoa. Once you finish making your way through the starting forwards, you then reach the benches, which for both teams is full of players that could easily fit into the starting 17. This match will have plenty of turns and it’ll be off the back of the forwards.

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INTERESTING FACT

A couple of recent trends have started to appear in recent seasons – with the Dragons on a nine match losing streak in Queensland. The Warriors once used to struggle to beat the Dragons – now they have an impressive record against the Red V, winning their past 5 from 6 games.

MATCHDAY PREDICTION

Dragons by 8

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