NRL

Round 8 NRL team lists

St George Illawarra Dragons v Sydney Roosters, Wednesday 4.10pm at Allianz Stadium

Dragons: 1 Matthew Dufty, 2 Nene Macdonald, 3 Euan Aitken, 4 Tim Lafai, 5 Jason Nightingale, 6 Gareth Widdop (c), 7 Ben Hunt, 8 James Graham, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 Paul Vaughan, 11 Tyson Frizell, 12 Tariq Sims, 13 Jack De Belin

Interchange: 14 Jeremy Latimore, 15 Kurt Mann, 16 Leeson Ah Mau, 17 Jacob Host

Reserves: 18 Hame Sele, 19 Zachary Lomax, 20 Mitchell Allgood, 21 Reece Robson

Warriors topple NRL leaders

The home side produced a superb defensive effort to hand the Dragons their first loss of the season.

The win had seemed safe with 14 minutes to go when hooker Isaac Luke grabbed the home side's third try.

Luke, who made several dummy-half runs, produced a 40-20 and finished off by scoring close to the line.

But the Dragons set up a grandstand finish when second-rower Tariq Sims forced his way over for a converted try with six minutes to go to close the gap to four points.

Warriors ready for 'blockbuster' against Dragons

Actually doing it will be even more difficult.

Traditionally, the words "blockbuster billing", "St George Illawarra" and "Warriors" haven't belonged in the same sentence.

The two clubs - or three if you include the four years of the Warriors' existence before St George and Illawarra merged - have made the finals in the same season just five times.

Nor have they ever met in a finals clash.

In simple terms, this makes Friday night's match the biggest ever played between the two sides.

Toronto Wolfpack invite NRL clubs to play in Canada

The Wolfpack, who won last year's League One competition in England and are leading the second-tier Championship league, have global ambitions and this week confirmed the signing of Darcy Lussick from Manly after he turned down approaches from rival NRL clubs.

Wolfpack director of rugby, Brian Noble, told NRL.com that Toronto was keen to host an NRL club and said there would be strong local interest for a match between the Ontario-based franchise and a team from Australia or New Zealand.

Warriors suffer first NRL defeat

After starting the season with five straight wins, the Auckland-based side suffered their first defeat of the year as the visiting Brisbane Broncos rumbled to a 27-18 victory on Saturday night.

The Warriors' next opponents, at Mt Smart Stadium on Friday, are a Dragons outfit who maintained their 100 per cent start to season by dispatching Cronulla 40-20.

"It shouldn't be hard for us to respond after that," Green said.

"We probably got out-enthused on our own home ground, which is disappointing.

Dragons remain unbeaten

The Sharks' 40-20 loss to their local rivals was only one concern, with Andrew Fifita and Paul Gallen sweating on knee scans on Saturday ahead of potentially lengthy stints on the sidelines.

There is particular concern over Fifita, who had his left knee in a brace amd was on crutches, sparking fears he may have damaged his anterior cruciate ligament putting his season in doubt.

Wade Graham (hamstring) and Luke Lewis (knee) will join the pair for scans after minor injuries, cutting through their star-studded forward pack and leaving them with an empty bench by fulltime.

Stat Attack: Roosters' chance to join the 100 club... again

Given South Sydney's dominance in the first two or three decades from the inception of the code in Australia and a strong record through the middle of last century, they hold the edge over the Roosters with 112 wins.

However it is the Roosters who boast the record for the most ever wins against one club, with 117 victories against the North Sydney Bears. The Bunnies downed Norths 104 times and the Balmain Tigers got the better of the Bears on 102 occasions.

The recruitment decisions that turned the NRL on its head

The same goes for St George Illawarra, Wests Tigers and Newcastle, who are all flying high at or near the top of the Telstra Premiership ladder after failing to make the NRL finals in recent seasons.

The success of the unbeaten Warriors and Dragons, coupled with that of the Tigers, Sydney Roosters, Gold Coast and Knights, highlights how a strategically targeted recruitment plan can dramatically change the fortunes of an NRL club.

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Warriors continue unbeaten run

Skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and his men have taken the club's best start to a campaign to 5-0, staying with St George Illawarra as the competition's only unbeaten teams.

Unfancied by many pundits at the beginning of 2018, the Warriors are firming as favourites to make their first finals appearance since 2011.

They again demonstrated their new-found defensive resilience against the Cowboys.

Last year's grand finalists have now lost four games in a row.

Raiders up and running

Four defeats out of four heaped the pressure on Raiders coach Ricky Stuart, but his side got up and running despite losing Ata Hingano, Michael Oldfield (both concussion) and Sam Williams (knee) - leaving Liam Knight as their only man on the bench for the second half.

Joey Leilua finished off a brilliant move which was started by Nick Cotric from his own in-goal area to put the Raiders in front and the centre added another try give the home side a 12-0 at the break, Croker converting both scores.