As it happened: NRL - New Zealand Warriors vs St George Illawarra Dragons


Full-time: Warriors 20 (Lino, Gelling, Luke, Papali'i tries; Lino 2 goals) Dragons 12 (Sims, Hunt tries; 2 goals)
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck: "It felt good to get back to what we do - everyone working for each other."

Thanks for joining us tonight - this result shows that the Warriors really are the business this season, after suffering their first loss to the Broncos last week.

They have a short turnaround for their next game - the traditional Anzac Day fixture against Melbourne Storm in Melbourne. That should be another real test of their mettle.

Catch you then!

80th min: Warriors 20 Dragons 12
DeBelin drops the ball on attack and Lino gathers to relieve the pressure.

The siren sounds with Luke in possession. Warriors have handed the Dragons their first loss of the season, despite losing Johnson and Kata before kick-off, Harris during the game and Blake Green for 10 minutes in the bin.

79th min: Warriors 20 Dragons 12
TRY to Warriors! Lino kicks high on the last, and RTS brilliantly leaps to scoop the ball back to Blair, Afoa and along the line to Papali'i for the gamewinner, surely.

He seems to bounce over in the tackle, but Cummins is happy with it and awards the try without referral.

Lino misses the conversion, but the Warriors have less than two minutes to hold on.

76th min: Warriors 16 Dragons 12
Kurt Mann drops the ball inside his own half, so the Warriors have great position.

75th min: Warriors 16 Dragons 12
Lino kicks high, Nightingale leaps high to catch.

74th min: Warriors 16 Dragons 12
Warriors have to hang on here with six minutes remaining. Dragons making easy metres.

73rd min: Warriors 16 Dragons 12
TRY to Dragons! After sustained pressure, Sims is tackled on the line and slams the ball over.

There's a review, but no reprieve this time. Widdop converts and the Dragons are back within a try.

71st min: Warriors 16 Dragons 6
Dragons are hammering away at the line and earn another set, when Blair tries to intercept and fails to gather.

70th min: Warriors 16 Dragons 6
Good defensive set for the Warriors, but they spill the ball just inside the Dragons half to concede position. Hunt kicks immediately off the scrum and almost catches the Warriors napping.

68th min: Warriors 16 Dragons 6
Green dribbles the ball into touch at the end of a set to calm things down, Dragons feed inside their 20.

66th min: Warriors 16 Dragons 6
TRY to Warriors! And it's that man Luke again, running from dummy half in the shadow of the posts and splitting a couple of tackles to score.

Lino converts from in front, Warriors 16-6. 

65th min: Warriors 10 Dragons 6
The Warriors have now made 60 more tackles than the Dragons, so this is really testing their fitness. They have possession and Luke has kicked a 40-20 (actually a 40-10) to gain great field position.

63rd min: Warriors 10 Dragons 6
TRY to the Dragons, but disallowed! RTS takes a kick in mid-air and the Warriors begin to break out of defence. Lafai intercepts a pass from Maumalo and strolls across for a try.

But a review shows James Graham had contested the kick and knocked on into RTS. NO TRY.

62nd min: Warriors 10 Dragons 6
Lino puts up a high kick, Hunt catches and threatens to break the defence, but is buried by Luke.

60th min: Warriors 10 Dragons 6
Hunt puts up a huge spiral punt, but Maumalo is safe underneath.

57th min: Warriors 10 Dragons 6
Gelling gets the ball from RTS, but as his run comes to an end, the Dragons defence bustles him into touch on the Dragons 20.

55th min: Warriors 10 Dragons 6
Green kicks deep and the Dragons are deep in their own territory. Lafai, who was sent to the side-line for an HIA assessment, is back in the action.

53rd min: Warriors 10 Dragons 6
Lafai splits the defence and heads to the corner, but Lino joins the tackle and causes Lafai to spill the ball. Vete has replaced Blair.

52nd min: Warriors 10 Dragons 6
Green puts in a wobbly kick that bounces for the Warriors, but Maumalo taps it back to Gelling, who knocks on.

50th min: Warriors 10 Dragons 6
Widdop kicks high and Maumalo catches it on his 20. Vete makes his 2018 debut.

49th min: Warriors 10 Dragons 6
TRY to Dragons! Hunt splits the line and is over in the tackles of Luke and Hiku. 

It's reviewed and awarded. Widdop converts, Warriors 10-6.

Green rejoins the action.

47th min: Warriors 10 Dragons 0
Lino kicks to the corner on the last tackle and Fuistu'a rises high, but the Warriors can't regroup and RTS knocks on the concede possession.

45th min: Warriors 10 Dragons 0
Hunt runs the ball on the last tackle, but Dufty is caught in possession and turns it over.

44th min: Warriors 10 Dragons 0
Widdop kicks high at the end of a set, but Gelling catches above his head.

Harris will not return tonight with concussion.

42nd min: Warriors 10 Dragons 0
Ah Mau breaks the Warriors defence, but on the last tackle, Widdop's kick is blocked by Lino, who gathers and hares up field.

41st min: This is the first time in two years that the Dragons have been scoreless at half-time.

Warriors kick off, but they're a man down to start the second half.

Halftime: Warriors 10 Dragons 0
The Warriors will still have another nine minutes after the break to play without Green, but it's been an intense game. 

Tuivasa-Sheck is leading the Warriors with 92 running metres, while Mannering and Blair have 21 tackles each.

The top performers for the home team have been the two players brought in late for injury - Lino and Gelling.

But the Warriors have had to make 188 tackles, compared with 155 by the Dragons. Also they're on the wrong side of a 10-3 penalty count. 

Remember too, Tohu Harris has left the field, so we await any word on his injuries.

40th min: Still very good defence from the Warriors. The Dragons throw the ball wide on the last play of the half, but Nightingale is contained and the siren sounds.

39th min: Warriors penalised for off-side and Green is sent to the bin for 10 minutes. This will be a real test in the shadows of half-time.

36th min: TRY to Warriors! Lino features twice, as the ball heads left across the field. Gelling takes the ball on a deep, angled run and beats four defenders to the line.

Lino converts, Warriors 10-0.

34th min: Green kicks to the line on the fifth, Gelling is chasing, but Nightingale knocks it dead. Goal-line drop-out.

33rd min: Tuivasa-Sheck gets within 10 metres and draws a penalty.

32nd min: Luke darts from dummy half again and earns a penalty in a quick play-the-ball.

31st min: Luke dances from dummy half, but turns the ball over. Somewhere in a tackle, the Dragons earn a repeat set, but Hiku runs at Dufty, who takes his eyes off the ball and spills it. 

29th min: Dragons reach the last tackle on the Warriors line, but lose 30 metres trying to get a kick in and are eventually tackled without finding one.

28th min: Warriors captain Tuivasa-Sheck is warned that his team is giving away too many penalties - you know what's next, Cummins tells him.

28th min: Papali'i and Lisone come on, Harris is walking off. Dragons hot on attack.

27th min: Harris is down again and looks out for the count. The Warriors do some deep breathing while he's attended to and Afoa heads to the sideline.

25th min: Hunt puts through a bouncing kick and Maumalo knocks on, trying to smother it. Dragons feed.

24th min: Green kicks early, looking for a 40-20, but the ball bounces away from the sideline. Dufty is caught deep in his own half. 

23rd min: Great set for the Warriors and Lino kicks into touch just metres from the Dragons line.

21st min: Dufty is trying to weave some magic, but is eventually stopped by Gelling and cleaned out in a three-man tackle.

Widdop's high kick is taken in spectacular fashion by Fusitu'a and the Warriors break out.

20th min: Green kicks on the last, but Dragons make good ground and draw the penalty just inside the Warriors half. Dragons lead penalty count 4-1.

Harris cops a knee to the face in a tackle and needs attention. Passi is replaced by Tevaga.

18th min: Dragons threaten again and Dufty looms with the line open, but drops the ball in an early tackle from Fusitu'a. Warriors feed to the scrum.

17th min: Warriors penalised and concede good field position to the Dragons. Aitken loses the ball as he is bundled into touch in the corner. 

Tuivasa-Sheck grabs the ball, but it's a goal-line drop-out.

15th min: Warriors pressuring the Dragons line, come to the end of the set. Lino's high kick is gathered by Frizell.

13th min: Hunt kicks across the field on the last tackle, and Fusitu'a rises high to take the ball and land in the field of play.

12th min: Ordinary kick from Widdop at the end of a set, Warriors get to run the ball out of defence. Dragons defence does a great job keeping them pinned and they will start the set in good position on halfway.

10th min: Warriors penalised in front of their posts, but the Dragons turn down the kick at goal. Warriors concede another penalty and are forced into goal-line defence.

Dufty runs across the field and creates the overlap, but the final pass goes astray to Macdonald - he spills it.

7th min: Repeat set for the Dragons, as Lino leaves the defence line and tries to steal the ball.

6th min: Luke makes a nice run from dummy half, but Passi inadvertently takes out a defender and the Warriors are penalised.

4th min: TRY to Warriors! They take advantage of the repeat set, Lino regathers an offload from Adam Blair and slips through the defence, past Widdop, making his way to the line. Lino will need to be good tonight and that's a great start.

Lino misses the conversion, Warriors 4-0.

3rd min: Warriors get a repeat set, after Hiku tries to slip a pass on the last tackle and it's touched by a Dragons player.

2nd min: Light rain begins to fall at Mt Smart, as Hunt kicks at the end of the Dragons' first set.

1st min: St George kick off, Passi has the first carry for the Warriors.

Prematch: Great conditions in Auckland tonight - no rain, not much wind, a very still night.

Before the game tonight, the Warriors will pay a video tribute to their oldest member, 96-year-old Edna Burnett, who died during the week.

The players will also wear black armbands in her honour.


Hello and welcome to live updates of the New Zealand Warriors hosting the St George Illawarra Dragons at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium.

Commentary will start from about 7:40pm (NZT).


Warriors: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2 David Fusitu'a, 3 Peta Hiku, 17 Anthony Gelling, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Blake Green, 20 Mason Lino, 8 Bunty Afoa, 9 Issac Luke, 10 Agnatius Paasi, 11 Simon Mannering, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Adam Blair

Interchange: 14 Jazz Tevaga, 15 Sam Lisone, 16 Albert Vete

Reserves: 18 Chris Satae, 21 Isaiah Papali'i, 22 Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad

Dragons: 1 Matthew Dufty, 2 Nene Macdonald, 3 Euan Aitken, 4 Tim Lafai, 5 Jason Nightingale, 6 Gareth Widdop (c), 7 Ben Hunt, 8 James Graham, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 Paul Vaughan, 11 Tyson Frizell, 12 Tariq Sims, 13 Jack De Belin

Interchange: 14 Jeremy Latimore, 15 Kurt Mann, 16 Leeson Ah Mau, 17 Hame Sele

Reserves: 18 Jacob Host, 19 Zachary Lomax

Match officials
Referees: Ben Cummins, Henry Perenara
Sideline Officials: Kasey Badger, Jeff Younis
Video Referees: Jared Maxwell, Ben Galea

Past meetings
Head-to-head: Played 26; Dragons 21 wins; Warriors 5 wins
Matches at venue: Played 10; Dragons 6 wins; Warriors 4 wins
2017 results: Dragons won 26-12 at Jubilee Oval in round 4 and 30-14 at FMG Stadium Waikato

*Stats from

Pre-match banter: Shaun Johnson, Solomone Kata ruled out of Warriors clash against Dragons

Warriors star Shaun Johnson has been ruled out of Friday's NRL blockbuster against ladder-leading St George-Illawarra with injury.  

The third-placed Warriors on Thursday announced Mason Lino would start at halfback, with Anthony Gelling to make his season debut for Solomone Kata.           

The clash will lose some of its lustre because of Johnson's injury, with the words 'blockbuster', 'Dragons' and 'Warriors' traditionally not belonging together.    

The two clubs - or three if you include the four years of the Warriors' existence before St George and Illawarra merged - have made the finals just five times in the same season.              

They have never met in a finals match. 

This makes Friday night's match the biggest played between the two sides.        

And despite them sharing just one loss between them this year - in the Warriors' nine-point defeat last week to Brisbane - it's potentially crucial to shaping their seasons.  

Stephen Kearney's men have a difficult run ahead with games against Melbourne, the Wests Tigers and Sydney Roosters, and can ill afford to hit that patch off two-straight losses.             

This has also historically been a defining point in the Dragons' season over the past few years.  

The Red V's fall from the top of the ladder has started around Anzac Day in two of the past three years and coach Paul McGregor has already spoken at length about why he believes 2018 will be different.   

Essential to that are the Dragons' spine of youngster Matt Dufty, star recruit Ben Hunt, last year's Dally M five-eighth of the year Gareth Widdop and NSW State of Origin hopeful Cameron McInnes.           

"They're probably the form spine of the competition," Kearney said.     

"They're putting real pressure on opposition teams with the way they attack." 

The Dragons have averaged a league-best 32 points a game over the first six rounds, while Widdop leads the league in try assists and line-break assists.  

At the back, Dufty's speed and step have brought him six tries, a figure bettered only by the eight of Warriors winger David Fusitu'a.

For Kearney, the best way to defend against the 22-year-old Dufty, who heads the NRL in line breaks, is to avoid giving him the ball. Failing that, stay switched on.  

"We've seen what he's capable of," he said.      

"We just have to make sure that when he does carry the footy, we're all alert, because he catches the ball on one side of the field and he's on the other side of the park very quickly."