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Warriors hoping NRL finals dominoes fall

The finals equation is simple for the Warriors - do something the club hasn't achieved in almost 20 years - and then hope for at least two NRL rivals can conjure up miracle last round upsets.
Warriors hoping NRL finals dominoes fall
by AAP

By Steve Jancetic

SYDNEY, Sept 6 AAP - The finals equation is simple for the Warriors - do something the club hasn't achieved in almost 20 years - and then hope for at least two NRL rivals can conjure up miracle last round upsets.

Winning in Wollongong for the first time since 1996 - before their opponents St George Illawarra even existed - is just the start of a host of dominoes that need to fall the Warriors' way for the club to sneak into the top eight.

They head to WIN Stadium in form having hammered Canberra 50-16 last weekend, but heavy losses earlier in the season have come back to haunt the men from across the Tasman, with points differential counting against them in the finals quest.

They are level on competition points with eighth-placed North Queensland and Gold Coast in ninth, but their points differential of -50 is behind the Titans (-17) and a long way off the Cowboys (+48).

All of which makes for a tough night on Saturday even if they do manage to topple the Dragons, and contrasting celebrations or commiserations possibilities back at their Sydney hotel.

"As much as I love a beer, that night we'd like to be sticking to the soft drink and getting our recovery right," prop Jacob Lillyman said.

"There'll be a lot of nervous people if we do get the win and we're waiting around.

"All we need to do is sneak in there and I think if we can sneak in there we'll give it a fair shake."

To get a chance at a `fair shake', the Warriors need two of the Titans, Cowboys and Newcastle to lose their last round game.

The Titans' clash against Melbourne - which starts half an hour after the Warriors finish in Wollongong - appears the safest bet, but the Storm have little to play for given they are already locked into finishing either third or fourth.

The Cowboys, who have won five straight, host Wests Tigers - who have lost seven of their last eight - in the late game on Saturday night.

If one of those results goes the Warriors' way, they then just need last-placed Parramatta to beat seventh-placed Newcastle on Sunday.

But those three results are out of the Warriors' hands - they just need to beat a side which will be hoping to send the retiring Nathan Fien and departing Michael Weyman out as winners.

"A lot's been made about our record there - it's a very big game for us," Lillyman said.

"Everyone's talking about results that didn't go our way, but if we want to put ourselves into the finals we have to win this game."


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