Everything was going beautifully for the Dragons in the first half hour of last week's clash with the Eels, but then everything went horribly wrong and a 14-0 lead quickly disappeared.
The 32-18 loss left them with a 4-4 record and teetering on the edge of the top eight.
Worse still are the mounting injuries for coach Paul McGregor, with Corey Norman (broken cheekbone) the latest high profile casualty. Tyson Frizell is also under an injury cloud.
The Warriors crashed to their sixth loss from eight games last week against Newcastle and are fighting an uphill battle to emulate last year's top eight finish.
Match: Warriors v Dragons
Round 9 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Warriors: The Warriors are 1-17, with Gerard Beale and Chris Satae dropping off the reserves list before kick-off. Isaac Luke and Chanel Harris-Tavita were dropped from the squad on Friday. Luke was left out due to form while Harris-Tavita won't play on account of Kodi Nikorima's arrival. David Fusitu'a (ribs), Bunty Afoa and Jazz Tevaga (both leg) require final fitness checks after missing last week's loss to the Knights. Fusitu'a trained on Wednesday.
Dragons: St George Illawarra are 1-17 with Jonus Pearson and Lachlan Timm cut from the 19-man squad on Saturday. Jai Field comes in for his first game of 2019 to replace injured five-eighth Corey Norman (cheekbone) in the only change to the 17 which faded badly in the second half against the Eels. Mitchell Allgood and Josh Kerr were the two players omitted 24 hours before kick-off.
Match: Warriors v Dragons
Round 9 -
Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-SheckFullback for Dragons is number 1 Matthew Dufty
Winger for Warriors is number 2 David Fusitu'aWinger for Dragons is number 2 Jordan Pereira
Centre for Warriors is number 3 Peta HikuCentre for Dragons is number 3 Zac Lomax
Centre for Warriors is number 4 Patrick HerbertCentre for Dragons is number 4 Timoteo Lafai
Winger for Warriors is number 5 Ken MaumaloWinger for Dragons is number 5 Mikaele Ravalawa
Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi NikorimaFive-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Jai Field
Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Blake GreenHalfback for Dragons is number 7 Ben Hunt
Prop for Warriors is number 8 Agnatius PaasiProp for Dragons is number 8 James Graham
Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Nathaniel RoacheHooker for Dragons is number 9 Cameron McInnes
Prop for Warriors is number 10 Leeson Ah MauProp for Dragons is number 10 Paul Vaughan
2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Isaiah Papali'i2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Tyson Frizell
2nd Row for Warriors is number 12 Tohu Harris2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Tariq Sims
Lock for Warriors is number 13 Lachlan BurrLock for Dragons is number 13 Blake Lawrie
Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Jazz TevagaInterchange for Dragons is number 14 Jeremy Latimore
Interchange for Warriors is number 15 Bunty AfoaInterchange for Dragons is number 15 Euan Aitken
Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Ligi SaoInterchange for Dragons is number 16 Jacob Host
Interchange for Warriors is number 17 Karl LawtonInterchange for Dragons is number 17 Luciano Leilua
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Referee: Gavin Badger
- Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
- Senior Review Official: Jared Maxwell
Ben Hunt has heard all the criticism in the past about his tendency to disappear in crunch time. With Norman sidelined, Hunt has a great opportunity to show he can be the 80-minute field general the Dragons need him to be. If he is going to earn an Origin recall Hunt needs to out-shine Warriors veteran Blake Green.
For the Warriors to win
After another lacklustre performance in last week's home loss to the Knights, it's make or break time for the Warriors. They've had some good wins at Brisbane in the past and might actually to prefer to play away from Mt Smart Stadium for this game. Stephen Kearney has to get his team re-committed to defence and staying strong for 80 minutes.
For the Dragons to win
They didn't seem to drop in confidence after the Anzac Day loss to the Roosters but it'll be interesting to see if the manner in which they were overrun by the Eels leaves any mental scars. McGregor needs to quickly settle on a replacement for Norman, but the Dragons' hopes rest largely on Hunt's shoulders on Saturday.
Brett Kimmorley says
With Corey Norman out, the Dragons will lose a lot in attack. Their forwards are good but Matt Dufty needs to remain strong in attack like he has been over the last couple of weeks. As for the Warriors, a likely new No.7 (Kodi Nikorima) might give them someone who can manage a game plan for them. I want to see Isaac Luke, Tohu Harris and the leaders in the forwards take control of the game. Dragons by 2
The Warriors completed 75% against the Knights, which isn't all that bad except Newcastle completed 91% (29/32). They missed 32 tackles and their eight errors doubled that of the visitors. Blake Lawrie worked hard in the loss to the Eels, making 134m from 17 runs. He also had 15 hit-ups and 39 tackles in just 57 minutes of game time.
And another thing ...
Revenge should be high on the agenda for the Dragons after failing to beat the Warriors in two meetings last season. The Warriors ended the Dragons' six-game winning run to start the season with a 20-12 victory at Mt Smart Stadium in round seven before completing a 2-0 sweep with an 18-12 triumph at WIN Stadium in round 18. Neither team is travelling as well as they were this time last year.