Warriors v Dragons: Five key points
After the Dragons thrashed the Warriors 36-0 on Saturday night, here are five key points to come out of the game at Wellington's Westpac Stadium.
Dragons' attack on fire
For the second week in a row the Dragons ran rampant on the attacking side of the ball, with the 36-0 shutout following on from a 46-24 thrashing of the Knights last Sunday.
It has been a huge turnaround for the Dragons with the ball in hand, after averaging just 15 points scored through their opening 18 games of the season.
Despite losing their best attacking weapon, Benji Marshall, after just 15 minutes, the Dragons had several players stand up as they ran in six tries in Wellington. Perhaps non more so than former Warriors prop Leeson Ah Mau, who ran for over 200 metres on the night, laying a strong platform for the likes of Gareth Widdop and Mitch Rein to work off.
The big man also had a line break which led to Tyson Frizell's try in the 57th minute.
Warriors break records for all the wrong reasons
In losing 36-0 the Warriors recorded their heaviest defeat since May 2013, when they suffered a 62-6 loss to the Panthers.
It was also just the second time since Round 26 in 2009 that the Warriors have been held scoreless but worryingly the second time in a month, following on from their 24-0 loss to the Roosters back in Round 19.
After the game captain Simon Mannering labelled it his side's worst game of the year.
"I guess there is not much to say right now, it's disappointing for our fans and supporters who came out today," he said.
"We didn't perform anywhere near where we needed to. We let them down and ourselves down."
Injury concerns take some of the shine off for Dragons
After running out to their equal-biggest victory of the year, St George Illawarra face a nervous wait on a couple of injuries sustained in the win.
Starting centre on the night Will Matthews left the field with a suspected shoulder problem after just 10 minutes, while star half Marshall limped off five minutes later with what appeared to be a hamstring issue.
Neither player returned, and the loss of Marshall in particular would be disastrous for the Dragons on their run towards the finals.
Following the match standoff Gareth Widdop said the early injuries had made the win all the more impressive.
"We lost two men early in the outside backs and Benji, that certainly was going to make it harder but to the boys' credit we stuck to the game plan, I think we completed quite well and we got the win; very pleasing," Widdop told Sky Sport.
"Obviously when you lose someone like Benji who is definitely a class player, for me it was just doing my role still within the team and probably taking a bit more responsibility which was fine."
Warriors attack no longer something to fear
It seems like a lifetime ago that the Warriors boasted the best attacking record in the Telstra Premiership, having scored more tries than any other side heading into Round 19.
But after failing to get over the line at all against the Dragons, the Warriors have now averaged just 6.5 points across their last four games, and have scored a total of just four tries in the same period.
Captain Simon Mannering was at a loss to explain where it was all going wrong after the match.
"We were creating opportunities on the edge and were probably pushing it a touch, but we were definitely creating chances," he told Sky Sport.
"Coming out after half-time I thought we started really well and bar that first five minutes we were paddling and played pretty poorly.
"I guess theres not much to say right now, [it's] disappointing for our fans and supporters who came out today.
"We can't kick stones for too long, we have still got four games more games this season."
The 0 means just as much as the 36 for Dragons
It is easy to applaud St George Illawarra's attack on Saturday night, but their efforts on the other side of the ball were just as impressive.
On four separate occasions Paul McGregor's men were forced to defend repeat sets from the Warriors, while across the 80 minutes they leaked just one line break.
The visitors missed just 19 tackles and managed to constrict the usually damaging Warriors' pack to a combined total of 1264 run metres.
The Dragons defence is hitting its straps at the perfect time of the year.
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