Sunday’s first NRL Round 9 match is between New Zealand Warriors and St George Illawarra Dragons. The opening bounce is set to commence at 10:05 local time with the game to be played at Mt Smart Stadium. The away team St George Illawarra Dragons are the favourites for the match. View our preview and teams for the game between New Zealand Warriors and St George Illawarra Dragons.
When: 10:05 | Sunday 01/05/2016
Where: Mt Smart Stadium
Tip: St George Illawarra Dragons at $3.10
Value Tip: First Tryscorer: Mitch Rein at $26.00
Warriors: 1. David Fusitua 2. Jonathan Wright 3. Blake Ayshford 4. Solomone Kata 5. Manu Vatuvei 6. Thomas Leuluai 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Jacob Lillyman 9. Issac Luke 10. Ben Matulino 11. Bodene Thompson 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Charlie Gubb. Interchange: 14. Jazz Tevaga 15. Sam Lisone 16. Albert Vete 17. Shaun Lane 18. James Gavet.
Dragons: 1. Josh Dugan, 2. Kalifa Faifai Loa, 3. Euan Aitken, 4. Timoteo Lafai, 5. Jason Nightingale, 6. Gareth Widdop, 7. Josh McCrone, 8. Leeson Ah Mau, 9. Mitch Rein, 10. Mike Cooper, 11. Tyson Frizell, 12. Joel Thompson, 13. Jack de Belin. Interchange: 14. Russell Packer, 15. Will Matthews, 16. Dunamis Lui, 17. Siliva Havili 18. Taane Milne.
The Warriors face a bout of soul-searching as they dissect an “embarrassing” performance in their NRL thumping by Melbourne.
The Auckland-based club have a six-day turnaround before they host St George Illawarra Dragons on Sunday, when they will try to bounce back from their 42-0 Anzac Day defeat.
Five-eighth Thomas Leuluai described the Warriors’ effort at AAMI Park as “very disappointing, very embarrassing”.
“We need to look at ourselves in the mirror, me included, in our performance and what we dished up,” he said.
Leuluai said the Warriors lost the arm-wrestle right from the start as the Storm piled on eight tries, five in the first half.
“The first set they got down to our line, and they scored three really soft tries early,” he said.
“It made it really difficult for us and it’s just unacceptable.”
The result drops the Warriors to 13th place on the league ladder with a 3-5 win-loss record.
Skipper Ryan Hoffman, who was back at his former club, bemoaned the Warriors passive attitude.
“We waited – we waited for Melbourne to run at us, we waited for Melbourne to run over us, we weren’t willing enough to put our bodies in front,” he said.
“We took some soft options defensively and they equate to tries.
“We just kept getting ourselves going backwards when we weren’t in the right mindset to be able to wrestle it back.”
Hoffman said the Warriors had a good final training session, so it came down to individual preparation.
The defeat was compounded by injury to fullback Tuimoala Lolohea and back-rower Simon Mannering, who are both in doubt to face the Dragons.
Lolohea, wearing the No.1 jersey because of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s season-ending knee injury, suffered a medial ligament strain. Mannering got a deep cut to his face.
*Odds correct at time of posting. Subject to change