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Warriors starters back for Dragons clash

Shaun Johnson NZ Warriors rugby league
Shaun Johnson had a big impact on the draw against Manly. PHOTO: DAVE LINTOTT PHOTOGRAPHY

The battle of the playmakers looms as the highlight ahead of the NZ Warriors’ clash with the St George Illawarra Dragons.

The Warriors will look to bounce back from last week’s draw with Manly in the Round 7 NRL match at Wollongong’s WIN Stadium on Friday night (kick-off 8pm NZ Time).


Warriors maestro Shaun Johnson comes up against Ben Hunt, a man with 318 games to his name and the smarts to drive the Dragons back into the finals in 2024.

Just a point separates the two mid-table teams on the NRL ladder but the NRL is predicting a possible win for the Dragons after they beat the Wests Tigers in their last match.

The Warriors have just one forced change from last week, with Adam Pompey moving from 18th man to the interchange bench and Jazz Tevaga dropping out due to a hamstring injury.

The clash will mark a special moment for prop Mitchell Barnett, who will be making his 150th NRL appearance after joining the club last season following 126 games for the Newcastle Knights and two for the Canberra Raiders.

His milestone comes two weeks after centre Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s 200th game, while more big moments loom for fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and second-rower Kurt Capewell.

Nicoll-Klokstad plays his 99th match this week, Watene-Zelezniak his 196th and Capewell his 145th .

Included on the extended bench were Zyon Maiu’u, Taine Tuaupiki, Ali Leiataua, Edward Kosi and Paul Roache.

NZ WARRIORS: Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, Rocco Berry, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Marcelo Montoya, Te Maire Martin, Shaun Johnson, Addin Fonua-Blake, Wayde Edga, Mitchell Barnett, Jackson Ford, Kurt Capewell, Tohu Harris. Interchange: Chanel Harris-Tavita, Tom Ale, Jacob Laban, Adam Pompey, Zyon Maiu'u, Taine Tuaupiki, Ali Leiataua, Edward Kosi, Paul Roache


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