NRL: Three memorable NZ Warriors v St George Illawarra Dragons matches

Sunday was supposed to be the 30th meeting between the NZ Warriors and St George Illawarra Dragons from WIN Stadium in Wollongong.

However, the NRL season is currently suspended amid the COVID-19 crisis, and the match won't be played until later this year. 

Historically, there hasn't been a strong rivalry between the two teams. The Dragons have dominated the head-to-head record with 21 wins, although the Warriors have won the last three. At one stage, the Warriors went eight years without a win over the Dragons, between 2008-16. 

Their first meeting was in 1999, after St George Dragons merged with the Illawarra Steelers to become the NRL's first joint venture club. 

With no rugby league on, Newshub will take you back on a trip down memory lane, with three memorable Warriors v Dragons encounters. 

Round 14, 2000 - Dragons v Warriors at Wollongong

This match is remembered by Warriors fans for all the wrong reasons, as it stood as the club's worst defeat for 13 years. 

For the second time in the franchise's history, they were held scoreless as the Dragons romped to a 54-0 win. 

Warriors fullback Lee Oudenryn.
Warriors fullback Lee Oudenryn. Photo credit: Photosport

Nathan Bladlock led the way with three of the Dragons' 11 tries, while Amos Roberts scored a premiership record 22 points in his debut. 

John Simon captained the Warriors that day, while the likes of Stacey Jones and Jason Death also played. 

What made the win more impressive was the fact the Dragons had conceded 50 points the week prior against the North Queensland Cowboys. 

But the result summed up a poor season for the Warriors when they finished 13th out of 14 teams while scoring the least amount of points (426) and conceding the most (662).

The Dragons also missed out on the playoffs that year, having lost in the Grand Final the year prior. 

The Warriors' record for their biggest defeat is now 56, after losing 62-6 to the Penrith Panthers in 2013. 

The Dragons are also one of three teams to hold the Warriors scoreless twice, doing it again in 2016 with a 36-0 win at Westpac Stadium (now known as Sky Stadium). 

Round 18, 2007 - Warriors v Dragons at Auckland

The Warriors produced one of their best performances of the 2007 season as they ran out 44-16 winners in Auckland, equalling a club record for their biggest win over the Dragons. 

The Warriors' left edge tore the Dragons to shreds with four of their seven tries coming down the flank, including a double to Simon Mannering. 

One of Manning's tries was memorable as he sprinted half the field with just one boot on, while the shirt he was wearing was way too small. 

Simon Mannering scored two tries in the win over the Dragons.
Simon Mannering scored two tries in the win over the Dragons. Photo credit: Photosport

Wade McKinnon, Michael Crockett, Jerome Ropati, George Gatis and Evarn Tuimavave also found the try-line, while Michael Witt landed all eight shots at goal.

The win started a strong run home towards the playoffs for the Warriors who ended the season with just one loss in eight games. 

The 28-point winning margin equalled a record set in 2001 when the Warriors won 34-6.

The win was also the Warriors' last against the Dragons for some time as they went onto lose the next 11. 

Round 21, 2018 - Dragons v Warriors at Wollongong

This was arguably the Warriors' most famous win over the Dragons, as it ended a long losing streak in the south of Sydney. 

Captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck inspired his side to an 18-12 win, the first time the Warriors had beaten St George Illawarra at WIN Stadium and just the club's second victory in Wollongong after beating the Illawarra Steelers in 1996.

In a typical game of two halves, the Warriors led 18-0 thanks to a double from Solomone Kata and a try from Issac Luke. 

The Dragons were unlucky not to score in the first, as Tuivasa-Sheck produced a magical play when he stripped the ball loose from Dragons centre Tim Lafai in his own in-goal to save a certain try.

The second half was all defence for the Warriors as they defended wave after wave. The Dragons did score twice early in the half, but some desperation tackling kept the Kiwi side in front. 

St George had one last play to look for an equaliser, but a bone-crunching tackle from Adam Blair on Kiwis teammate Jason Nightingale ensured the Warriors would hold on for a famous win. 

The Warriors celebrate their win over the Dragons in 2018.
The Warriors celebrate their win over the Dragons in 2018. Photo credit: Getty

The win also the Warriors' eighth away victory of the season, which set a new club record, while it was their 12th win of the year, a feat they'd only achieved once since 2011 (12 wins in 2014).

The Warriors were due to face the two-time defending champion Sydney Roosters at Mount Smart next week, so Newshub will look back at three classic matches between the two sides on New Zealand soil.