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Gareth Widdop kicked nine from nine conversions in the Dragons' Round 21 win over the Knights.

While they continue to adjust to life without their own playmaking star Shaun Johnson, the Warriors are preparing to come up against a couple of them in Dragons jerseys this Saturday.

St George Illawarra halves Benji Marshall and Gareth Widdop returned to top form as the Dragons ended a seven-game losing streak last Sunday against the Knights, with the duo putting on an attacking masterclass in the 46-24 rout.

Between them the pair racked up five try assists, broke the line twice and ran for a combined 245 metres.

While Marshall was dangerous with the ball in hand, Widdop controlled play well with his kicking game, a part of his game which England international teammate Sam Tomkins said is sure to challenge the Warriors at Wellington's Westpac Stadium. 

"He is a special player 'Gaz', he is very, very skilful," Tomkins told

"His ability to kick is pretty phenomenal and I think he is probably an unsung hero in that team at times, obviously Benji gets the headlines because of the way he sort of runs and plays.

"I think [Widdop's] kicking game is a big one, he can build pressure by kicking and we don't know what the weather is going to be like down there, but probably windy and wet.

"In games like that I think the team that kicks best can generally get field positioning and go on and win the game.

"Gaz has been really good, and he has been for a long time now. He has got a lot of things we need to look out for this week."


Since returning to the Telstra Premiership last year – following an ill-fated stint in rugby union – Marshall has been a revelation for the Dragons, who struggled to find a leader in attack last year.

Heading into Round 22 the former Tiger has 17 try assists, which positions him behind only Jonathan Thurston in terms of the competition's best in that category.

He also sits fourth for total kicks this year, while averaging 8.5 runs and 58 metres across his 18 games.

According to Warriors back-rower Simon Mannering, who replaced Marshall as Kiwis captain in 2013, the fleet-footed playmaker wouldn't look out of place if given a spot on New Zealand's end-of-year tour of England.

"I haven't seen too many of the games, but have definitely heard he is playing some good footy," Mannering said of Marshall.

"Some of the stuff he is doing looks like he is back to his old ways, he is playing really well which is great to see.

"He will be a key part of the Dragons this weekend, so hopefully we won't see too much of him.

"Knowing Benji he likes to go side-to-side, and seeing Gareth Widdop play he is the same.

"Benji has done a job for the Kiwis before, so if they choose to select him in the team I can't see why he wouldn't get the job done again.

"He has got a lot of experience and been a great player in the past."

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