Dragons v Warriors: Molo to debut; Lodge departs immediately

The Dragons and Warriors featured in two of the more bizarre games at Magic Round, left to rue what might have been after going under in tense finishes.

Anthony Griffin's men went toe-to-toe with the Gold Coast for 89 minutes before Jamayne Isaako's try secured a golden point victory for the Titans.

The Warriors were blown off the park in the first half but four tries in 15 minutes dragged them back within two points with two minutes to play but the Bunnies held on.

After the Dragons this week and the Knights in round 12, the Warriors face Manly, Cronulla and Penrith in consecutive weeks so it's imperative they get some confidence and momentum up ahead of that tough stretch.

The Rundown
Team news

Dragons: Jack Gosiewski, who was named to replace Josh McGuire (groin), is out and is instead replaced in the run-on side by Tyrell Fuimaono. Cody Ramsey starts at fullback in place of Tyrell Sloan, while Francis Molo's younger brother Michael will make his NRL debut from the bench. Francis himself will start at prop in jersey 18 after the Dragons retired the number eight jersey this week in honour of the late Johnny Raper.

Warriors: Ben Murdoch-Masila will start for Matt Lodge after the prop was granted an immediate release from the remainder of his contract. Eliesa Katoa is the new face on the bench, while Jesse Arthars remains as part of the extended squad. Euan Aitken returns from concussion to start in the back row alongside captain Tohu, who made his long-awaited return last week via the bench. Jazz Tevaga will play his 100th game for the club.

Key match-up
Ben Hunt v Shaun Johnson: Two of the NRL's most experienced playmakers go head-to-head in a battle of will and skill that could well determine the outcome of this one. Hunt is enjoying a fine season for the Red V with nine try assists and 27 tackle breaks, testing opposition defences with his incisive runs and vision. Johnson has copped plenty of criticism in recent weeks for taking some poor options on fifth tackle and being too lateral in attack but the 214-game veteran will have done plenty of soul searching and can be expected to hit back hard.

Stat Attack
The Warriors sit last in the NRL for offloads with 66 in their 10 games while the Dragons have produced 85 offloads, still well shy of the competition leading Raiders with 126.


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