Warriors

Warriors welcome back big guns for clash with Wests Tigers

Half Shaun Johnson, centre Solomone Kata, and forward Tohu Harris have all been named in the starting side who will be looking to bounce back from their Anzac Day drubbing in Melbourne.

In what could be a stunning turnaround, Issac Luke is set to remain in the No. 9 jersey despite being deemed unavailable for the next four weeks due to injury as recently as Monday.

The in-form hooker went through Monday's practice and is now pencilled in to start after he lasted just 16 minutes against Melbourne before he succumbed to a knee injury.

Warriors ownership set to change hands within days

Auckland Rugby League, through the Carlaw Heritage Trust formed out of the sale of Carlaw Park, have got an agreement for sale in place with the team's majority owner Eric Watson.

Reports had surfaced early this month that a different group - largely former professional athletes led by Richard Fale and based in Hawaii - had reached a verbal agreement to buy the club.

The sale to the Hawaii consortium - for somewhere in the region of $24 million - had reportedly been waiting only for a final decision from Watson.

Melbourne Storm trounce the Warriors

Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith was asked in the lead-up to their Anzac Day match if a win over NRL premiership contenders the Warriors meant the Storm were back and his team gave an emphatic answer at AAMI Park in Melbourne, delivering a statement that they wouldn't be handing over their title without a fight.

The Warriors came into the annual clash, hyped up having only dropped one game, while the Storm had won their previous two after a patchy start to the season.

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 star Shaun Johnson out of Dragons clash

The third-placed Warriors announced Mason Lino would start at halfback, with Anthony Gelling to make his season debut for Solomone Kata.

The clash will lose some of its lustre because of Johnson's injury, with the words "blockbuster", "Dragons" and "Warriors" traditionally not belonging together.

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 just five times in the same season.

They have never met in a finals match.

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.

Mannering to start for the Warriors

With Leivaha Pulu forced to the sidelines after sustaining a foot injury in last weeks first loss of the season to the Broncos, Mannering will take Pulu's place on the left edge.

Filling Mannering's spot on the interchange is front rower Albert Vete who is yet to play a first grade game this season.

Warriors centre Solomone Kata was seen carried off the field last week with ankle trouble but has been named to start pending a fitness test.

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.

Same starting line up for Warriors

Already boasting an unprecedented 5-0 start to the season, the second-placed

Warriors face their third Queensland side in three games at Mount Smart Stadium having disposed of Gold Coast 20-8 on March 17 and North Queensland 22-12 in the second leg of last week's double header in front of the biggest regular season crowd of 25,600 since 1995.

Kearney has named the same starting line-up used against the Cowboys while there are two changes on the extended eight-man bench.

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.