Manu Vatuvei and his fellow Warriors are aiming for a better performance at home. Picture: Darren England/dailytelegraph.com.au
New Zealand Warriors v St George Illawarra Dragons
Saturday, March 15 – 2.05pm (AEST)
Things you need to know:
Matthew Elliott has made a couple of changes after his side's first-up defeat to Parramatta, calling up experienced centre Jerome Ropati and the versatile Ben Henry. Ropati takes the place of the injured Carlos Tuimavave (nose), while Henry comes onto an extended bench, with Sione Lousi expected to make way. Konrad Hurrell is again overlooked for the NRL side. The Dragons have been forced into a couple of changes as well due to injury. Halfback Sam Williams gets a shot with Michael Witt missing with a shoulder problem while last weekend's two-try hero Tyson Frizell earns a starting berth this week for Jack de Belin (leg). Bronson Harrison comes onto the bench.
Reason to watch:
Sam Tomkins didn't quite live up to the hype and immense expectation on his shoulders in the opening round but the Englishman showed in glimpses just how good he could be for the Warriors. The classy fullback rarely plays two quiet games in a row. If the Warriors forwards realise just how big and damaging they are - and decide to rip-in this week – Tomkins' combination with Shaun Johnson will thrive which should lead to some exciting play and plenty of points. Dragons, you have been warned.
Reason to turn away:
If you are a Warriors fan turn away now. The Kiwi side hate playing against the Red V, managing just four wins in 20 previous clashes between the two clubs. The Dragons have won the last eight in a row, with their last loss to the Warriors coming way back in 2008. If both sides' produce the same form they did in round one, that stat won't change and things could get very ugly for the home team.
"Our performance against Parramatta wasn't what any of us saw coming. There was one team out there competing a lot harder physically than we did and that was the most disappointing aspect. If you don't (perform) sometimes the consequence of it is that someone else is going to take your spot. I think that's pretty fundamental and something that I want to make sure there's some people that are lucky as well." – Warriors coach Matt Elliott
The Warriors were woeful last week and their history of inconsistent football makes them a tough side to tip each week. And given how well the Dragons played you would have to give the visitors a strong chance of getting the points in this one too. But any side that can keep someone like Konrad Hurrell playing in the NSW Cup has a quality roster and you would have to think they won't play as badly as they did against the Eels again. The Warriors are often one week rocks, one week diamonds and I think they'll produce the sparkly stuff this time out. Warriors by 10
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