Warriors v Dragons NRLW preview

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Warriors v St George Illawarra Dragons Sunday 1:15pm at Mt Smart Stadium

The second game of the weekend heads to New Zealand for the first time in NRLW history as the Warriors take on the St George Illawarra Dragons at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday.

The hosts come into the game off the back a confidence-boosting win against the Sydney Roosters last weekend. Impressive in their 16-12 victory in Melbourne last week, they were strong defensively as they were able to hold the Roosters for just one try for the majority of the match before conceding a very late four-pointer. The Warriors' skill level was one of their most impressive assets last weekend, particularly halfback Charntay Poko who nailed an important 40/30 kick.

The Warriors have named an unchanged line-up from last weekend, although veteran Kathleen Wharton is under an injury cloud with a calf issue.

St George Illawarra were looking for an improved performance this season with a large squad rebuild - including those five signings from the 2018 premiership-winning Broncos side. The Dragons took on the Broncos on Sunday, but were unable to take the chocolates in warm conditions at Bankwest Stadium. Outplayed by the Broncos, the attack from the Red ‘V' was faltering at key times with silly errors in good field position hurting them.

The Dragons have been dealt a major blow in their campaign with star forward Teuila Fotu-Moala suspended for the remainder of the season following an unsuccessful trip to the judiciary. Fotu-Moala was charged with a crusher tackle on Brisbane's Lavinia Gould and was unable to convince the judiciary to downgrade her charge. Their lineup is otherwise unchanged, with coach Daniel Lacey still to decide on how the suspended prop will be replaced.

Last meeting: Round 2 2018 - Dragons 22 Warriors 10

Who to watch: Warriors halfback Charntay Poko had a superb game last week, starring for her side and scoring a try to boot. Poko had a big hand in the Warriors' other two tries as well - and arguably changed the momentum of the game in the first half with a 40/30 kick that gave the Warriors an attacking opportunity from which they scored. Poko's kicking game was also vital for the Warriors in turning the Roosters' momentum around.

One of the biggest recruits for the Dragons was NSW halfback Maddie Studdon who had a less than ideal start for the 'Red V'. Studdon had a quiet game and never really got warm for the Dragons, with some poor attack and costly errors as the Dragons were looking for momentum. Studdon - who got dropped from the Roosters lineup last season as well - needs to improve and put in a big performance.

My tip: The Warriors were very impressive last week and no doubt they are boosted by playing their first game in New Zealand. The Dragons - who weren't poor - do need to improve on last week's performance but a repeat effort by the Warriors of their own efforts should see them get another victory on the board. This game could go either way with the quality on show, but the home side should have enough for the win. Warriors by 6.

1. Apii Nicholls 2. Hilda Mariu 3. Atawhai Tupaea 4. Jules Newman 18. Roela Radiniyavuni 6. Timaima Ravisa 7. Charntay Poko 8. Annetta Nuuausala 9. Krystal Rota 10. Aieshaleigh Smalley 24. Onjeurlina Leiataua 12. Crystal Tamarua 13. Georgia Hale 11. Kathleen Wharton 14. Kanyon Paul 16. Billy-Jean Ale 25. Tyler Reid

1. Botille Vette-Welsh 19. Rikeya Horne 3. Jessica Sergis 4. Tiana Penitani 5. Shakiah Tungai 14. Keeley Davis 7. Maddie Studdon 10. Maitua Feterika 9. Brittany Breayley 17. Ngatokotoru Arakua 11. Kezie Apps 12. Shaylee Bent 13. Holli Wheeler 15. Takilele Katoa 16. Maddison Weatherall 18. Najvada George 21. Aaliayah Fasavalu-faamausili

Referees: Kasey Badger, Ethan Menchin; Sideline Officials: Mitchell Currie, Tim Hannon; Video Referees: Henry Perenara, Ben Lowe;

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