MATCH UP STATS
Round 6 resultNew Zealand Warriors: Warriors 18 defeated by Broncos 27St George Illawarra Dragons: Dragons 40 defeated Sharks 20
6pm Thursday April 20, 2018, at Mt Smart Stadium, New Zealand
IF you picked the New Zealand Warriors and the St George Illawarra Dragons to be fighting it out for top spot almost two months into the NRL season you are either genius or a madman – there’s no in between.
The Dragons remain the only undefeated team remaining in the competition after a thumping win over cross-city rivals, the Cronulla Sharks.
The league leaders put on a points scoring masterclass, crossing the try line six times. What was most impressive about their barrage of scoring was that the sextet of try scorers were six separate individuals.
The New Zealand Warriors suffered their first loss of the season last week against Brisbane in a match many expected them to win. In a seesawing game where no team truly dominated the other, two second half tries to one told the difference in the end for the visting Broncos.
We’re convinced on the Dragons following their strong start to the season, but can the Warriors prove they’re the real deal in 2018 or will they again fall away?
Players to watch – Warriors v Dragons
Warriors – Shaun Johnson: The mercurial Kiwi has been one of the main driving forces behind his team’s stellar start to the season, and while he found his way onto the try scorer’s sheet in last weeks defeat, he had a down game by his lofty stands. Look for the superstar to bounce back here.
Dragons – Gareth Widdop: Widdop has arguably been the best player in the league across the opening six rounds of the NRL season and the inspirational leader looms as the must-watch player on Friday night. Playing in his 100th game for the big red V, Widdop will look to continue the form that has him leading the Dally M Medal count.
1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (c), 2 David Fusitu’a, 3 Peta Hiku, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Ken Maumalo, 6 Blake Green, 7 Shaun Johnson, 15 Sam Lisone, 9 Issac Luke, 10 Agnatius Paasi, 11 Simon Mannering, 12 Tohu Harris, 13 Adam Blair
Interchange: 8 Bunty Afoa 14 Jazz Tevaga, 16 Albert Vete, 17 Anthony Gelling
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
Warriors v Dragons – who wins?
While we like what the Warriors have brought to the table so far in 2018, we think the Dragons are deservedly sitting atop the NRL leader.
The league leaders have 54 on the next-best team in the league Penrith in terms of points differential, and the trip across the Tasman will hold no fears. From 10 games against the Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium the Dragons have won six of those contests.
Expect the Dragons to remain undefeated after Friday night.
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