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Warriors eye Dragons win for NRL finals

The Warriors want to underscore their fine recovery over the second half of the NRL season with victory over St George Illawarra on Saturday.
Warriors eye Dragons win for NRL finals
by AAP

By Robert Lowe

AUCKLAND, Sept 4 AAP - The Warriors want to underscore their fine recovery over the second half of the NRL season with victory over St George Illawarra on Saturday.

Then it's a case of seeing whether the cards somehow fall their way over the remainder of the weekend.

Skipper Simon Mannering and his men go into the final round in 10th place, the lowest of four teams vying for the two remaining playoff spots.

They have the advantage of being the first in action, which means they will still have everything to play for at kick-off.

But they need to win, and then hope that two out of Newcastle, North Queensland and Gold Coast slip up.

For coach Matthew Elliott, the scenarios are simple: "We win and we don't make it, we lose, or we win and do make it."

But he said the challenge for the Warriors was to avoid being distracted by the permutations.

"We have to go away and perform well," he said.

"We've got other things to lever up against."

Those other things included being the first Warriors side to win in Wollongong since the merged St George Illawarra entered the competition in 1999.

The previous nine visits all ended in defeat.

Victory would also mean finishing the season with a 12-12 win-loss record, which sounded much better than 11-13.

As well, they wanted to continue their big comeback from a poor start to their campaign, when they were near the foot of the table at the mid-point.

"In the second 12 rounds, we're sitting fourth," Elliott said.

"I think that starts to set the mindset of what this team is capable of doing."

Elliott said veteran Jerome Ropati, who picked up a hamstring injury in the 50-16 win over Canberra last weekend, would travel with the squad, but was "probably unlikely" to be available.

The prospects were more positive for fellow centre Dane Nielsen, who was sidelined against the Raiders with shin and ankle problems.


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