Dragons players have backed a loan system to help the injury-hit Warriors but are wary of facing the side now considered most people’s second-favourite team after four weeks in camp since their arrival from New Zealand.
St George Illawarra prop Eddie Blacker is considered someone who would benefit from a loan spell and the Dragons are understood to be willing to provide other fringe players to assist the Warriors while gaining NRL experience.
The idea was initially proposed after the Warriors decided to stay in Australia when the international borders closed in March and has arisen again since their return from New Zealand following a series of training injuries last weekend.
Prop Leeson Ah Mau ruptured his pectoral muscle, while Jazz Tevaga and Adam Keighran suffered knee injuries as the Warriors ramped up preparations at their Tamworth training base before the May 30 clash with the Dragons.
With any additional players joining them from New Zealand needing to undergo 14 days isolation in Australia, as centre David Fusitu’a is currently doing, Warriors CEO Cameron George wants to borrow players from rival teams.
Dragons second-rower Tariq Sims believes it would be a great opportunity for players outside their club’s top playing squad as there is no Canterbury Cup or second-tier competition for them to ply their trade.
Sims and Hunt preview Warriors clash
"If you were a player trying to cut your teeth in the NRL you would be mad not to jump at the opportunity," Sims said.
"Both parties would have to be happy with it, you can’t send a player who doesn’t want to go there. But anyone who gets the opportunity to play in the NRL is going to try and represent themselves and their family the best they can."
The injury toll has left Warriors coach Stephen Kearney with Agnatius Paasi and rookie Jamayne Taunoa-Brown as his only specialist front-row options for the match against St George Illawarra while veteran forward Adam Blair could also be moved into the engine room from lock.
However, Dragons players are bracing for an ambush by a team who had been in isolation together at Tamworth for 18 days before moving to Gosford on Wednesday, where they will be in camp until they can return to New Zealand.
"I think that because they have sacrificed so much everyone has a soft spot for the Warriors," Sims said.
"Without them, the competition might not have gone ahead so everyone is going to feel for the Warriors.
"To leave their families and be away from their loved ones, their support network, their best friends, their partners, their girlfriends and their kids back in New Zealand, all the credit does go to the Warriors.
"We are going to be coming up against a desperate side but they have been in camp for a long time together as well so I expect a lot of camaraderie among their players.
"I think whoever the Warriors do put in their jersey they are going to represent it with absolute pride and passion. A desperate and passionate side is very dangerous."
Fellow forward Blake Lawrie said the Dragons could not afford to underestimate the Warriors.
"I think the Warriors will be one of the biggest challenges because they have come over here and they will have a point to prove," Lawrie said.
Hunt worried about Origin selection
Halfback Ben Hunt also said the St George Illawarra players needed to put aside any feelings of appreciation or sympathy.
"Obviously they have sacrificed a lot but they are coming over to play our game and at the end of the day the game has got to go on for everyone to be paid," Hunt said.
"Yes, they have sacrificed more than others and I am very grateful that they have done that. They are allowing the competition to keep going but at the same time I don’t want to feel for them too much because I have got to go out and try to beat them."