New Zealand Warriors fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

Having never previously won at WIN Stadium, the New Zealand Warriors broke their hoodoo to defeat the St George Illawarra Dragons. 

In a tight contest, the Warriors were led by captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck as the win all but guarantees a Warriors finals berth for the first time in seven years.

The Dragons fans are justifiably concerned, with the loss their fourth in five games as they look to avoid dropping further down.

They started the stronger of the two sides but were unable to capitalise on their chances.

Firstly, back-rower Tyson Frizell passed straight to Issac Luke after doing all the hard work to bust the line.

Winger Jordan Pereira then looked likely to score but was stopped short due to a high shot.

The Dragons night took a turn for the worst when Paul Vaughan limped off with an apparent knee/ankle injury.

This was soon followed up by the sin-binning of fullback Matt Dufty.

From there, having previously gone up 2-0, the Warriors went for the jugular and took control.

A lovely pass from young Warriors back-rower Isaiah Papali’i saw Solomone Kata score the game’s first try.

The Dragons suffered another blow on this very play when James Graham left the field due to a head injury assessment.

The Warriors two smallest players then combined when Jazz Tevaga found Issac Luke who burrowed over.

A huge defensive play by Tuivasa-Sheck ensured all the momentum remained with the Dragons.

And the Dragons night again worsened when Solomone Kata scored right before half-time to give the Warriors an 18-0 lead.

Not a team to die wondering, however, the Dragons came out breathing fire to start the second half.

Cam McInnes spotted a gap and darted for the line, reaching out to score.

The Dragons then had a quick-fire double after Gareth Widdop’s grubber found Luciano Leilua to score.

That was all she wrote, though, as the Dragons were then unable to crack the Warriors line further.

The Warriors man of the hour in Tuivasa-Sheck said he had to put himself first over the team to fire up.

“I just had to take it a bit personal and come out and make sure I had myself ready to go,” Tuivasa-Sheck said.

“Too many times I have tried to get the team up and pumping but I think I forgot about myself and my own preparation.

“That’s what today was about.

I was pleased I was able to go back to a few of my things in the first half.”

When it came to that huge defensive effort, Tuivasa-Sheck drew praise from his coach.

“I thought it was a huge play and there has been a number of times this year where Roger has come up with a play like that,” Warriors coach Stephen Kearney said.

Although they lost, the late fightback impressed Dragons coach Paul McGregor.

“Our second half was much better than our first and that is where it has to start next week,” McGregor said.

“A zero scoreline for the opposition in the second half.

“We scored a couple of second-half tries, started to build pressure, our kicking game was better, we started to play through them a lot more, controlled their offloads better and made it a contest.

Player of the Game:

3. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

2. Isaiah Papali’i

  1. Cameron McInnes

By ricky

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