Dragons trump poor Warriors in NRL

Amateur-hour defending and an aimless attack have cost the Warriors dearly in their NRL clash with the Dragons, falling 30-14 in Hamilton.

The Warriors struggled to keep it together, giving up 57 missed tackles, 20 offloads and nine line breaks as the Red V coasted in on Friday for six tries.

It was a night to forget for rookie Warriors winger Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, who scored two tries in just his third NRL appearance but was repeatedly outwitted by makeshift Dragons left-edge duo Tim Lafai and Kalifa Faifai Loa.

The pair grabbed three tries between them and opened up Nicoll-Klokstad again and again, with fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck watching on helplessly.

The 16-point loss in driving Hamilton rain leaves the Warriors staring down the barrel of another uphill climb for the finals with 11 rounds gone, while St George sit comfortably in the top eight.

After Ben Matulino had given the Aucklanders a 12th-minute lead, the Dragons picked up a stunning leveller through Faifai Loa on the back of successive tackle breaks – slicing through the middle, the left and the middle again on the way to the line.

As has been customary this season, the Warriors subsequently crumbled at the first sign of adversity, looking adrift and disorganised in attack.

They conceded two more four-pointers down their right wing – the first to Joel Thompson and the second to Lafai. The besieged Nicoll-Klokstad then capitalised on some careless Dragons defending to haul the Warriors within eight at the break.

With 30 first-half missed tackles to their name, the Warriors needed an urgent defensive touch-up and some fresh enthusiasm to stand any chance of a comeback.

But it never looked likely, with Hame Sele breaking through a gaping hole down the middle to create Nene Macdonald’s 50th-minute try.

Faifai Loa steamrolled Tuivasa-Sheck – again on the Warriors’ right flank – to extend the Red V’s lead 10 minutes later, before Taane Milne did a similar demolition job on Kieran Foran to go over and send the Warriors’ faithful home early.

Nicoll-Klokstad planted down a Shaun Johnson chip kick with four minutes to play but, by then, it was too little, too late in another listless display.

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