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Warriors target last-match NRL win

Coach Matthew Elliott isn't worrying too much about the permutations around which clubs will make the NRL playoffs going into the Warriors' last game of the regular season against St George Illawarra in Wollongong on Saturday.
Warriors target last-match NRL win
by AAP

WELLINGTON, Sept 3 AAP - Coach Matthew Elliott isn't worrying too much about the permutations around which clubs will make the NRL playoffs going into the Warriors' last game of the regular season against St George Illawarra in Wollongong on Saturday.

With their record 50-16 rout of Canberra last Saturday, the Warriors climbed into the top eight for the first time this season but stayed there less than 24 hours before results on Sunday pushed them out of the top half of the competition.

Four teams are battling for the last two spots - Newcastle on 27 points followed by North Queensland, Gold Coast and the Warriors on 26. Penrith and Canberra are on 24.

"It's come down to the last round and, as we've seen, this competition throws up some amazing things," Elliott said.

"We need to worry about ourselves first and then let's just see what happens."

The Warriors have never beaten the Dragons at WIN Stadium, and will be looking to break a run of nine straight losses since Illawarra entered the competition in 1999.

The club's only success at the ground was against the then Illawarra Steelers in 1996.

Even if they win, the Warriors will have to rely on the right results coming from later games on Saturday when Melbourne host the Titans and the Cowboys meet Wests Tigers in Townsville.

Depending on those results, the contest between Newcastle and Parramatta on Sunday could also come into play in determining whether the Warriors make the finals.

Jacob Lillyman, playing off the bench, will mark his 100th game for the Warriors on Saturday.

Two players are poised to return from injury. Jerome Ropati (hamstring) has been named on the right wing and Dane Nielsen (ankle) back in the centres.

Warriors: Kevin Locke, Jerome Ropati, Dane Nielsen, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Thomas Leuluai, Shaun Johnson, Sam Rapira, Nathan Friend, Suaia Matagi, Elijah Taylor, Simon Mannering (capt), Todd Lowrie. Interchange: Ben Matulino, Jacob Lillyman, Feleti Mateo, Dominique Peyroux, Ngani Laumape, Siua Taukeiaho (two to be omitted).


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