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Hireme to return if Warriors sneak into grand final

Kiwi Ferns captain Honey Hireme would slot back into the Warriors NRLW side if the New Zealanders make next Sunday's grand final against the Broncos.

In a double blow for the Warriors, Hireme lost her mother this week while head coach Luisa Avaiki's father died.

But it galvanised the Warriors as they beat the Broncos 10-8 in their round three game at the SCG on Saturday to open the door slightly for a spot in the NRLW decider. if the Dragons lose to the Roosters on Sunday at Leichhardt Oval, the Warriors will renew acquaintances with the Broncos next Sunday's title decider.

While there's a hope, there's a plan to field the Warriors' best team. That would mean Hireme returning and Atawhai Tupaea or Jules Newman dropping out of the centres.

"I think she would be right to play," assistant coach Justin Morgan said.

"I spoke to Honey at the back end of the week, after the passing of her mother, and with the cultural situation she needs to spend a certain amount of time with the family.

"But she's pretty keen and she still wants to be involved with the internationals. So if she's available and wants to play she'll definitely come into the team.

"She would slot into the centres there so unfortunately we'd have to make a call and someone would miss out. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

Match Highlights: Broncos v Warriors

The Warriors are travelling to Auckland on Sunday, so won't know the result of the Dragons-Roosters game until after they land.

Regardless of how the ball bounces on Sunday, Morgan was full of praise for the players having to put the two deaths to one side to hand the Broncos their first defeat since the NRLW began last year.

"Tough week, very tough week ... it's a pretty tight group of players and the club is a tight-knit club. So when news like that hits you're not sure how people will react," Morgan said.

"I think you saw out there that the girls really responded."

He singled out three players starting with prop Annetta Nuuausala, who played the whole first half, and scored the second of the Warriors' two tries.

"If she's not one of the best front-rowers in the game then I'm not a very good judge."

Halfback Charntay Poko picked up a rib injury late in the first half but played the second under a little duress.

And Georgia Hale, who was named at lock, had to slot into the halves in one of the five personnel changes made to the side since it was named on Tuesday.

"She did a great job for us. She's played a little halves and hooker before – sort of a jack of all trades – but she's such a good defender in the middle of the field that's where we feel we get most value out of her," Morgan said.

For the Broncos, it was a sombre dressing shed.

"We weren't expecting an easy game. It was a danger game for us," coach Kelvin Wright said.

"Certainly a lesson learned. For a lot of the players in there it's their first loss in a Broncos jersey.

"We just weren't good enough today. We started poorly and certainly our discipline wasn't great.

Warriors: Round 3

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"We gave away six penalties in the first half and really piggy-backed them out of their end."

Wright said the loss had not shaken the team's confidence for the grand final.

"Certainly we're disappointed but there'll be no complacency there next week. You never want to lose games but I suppose a loss for the Broncos had to come at some stage.

"I'm certainly glad it was this week and not next week."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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