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The Warriors congratulate halfback Charntay Poko after her try against the Roosters.

With no trek across the Tasman to contend with this week, the Warriors are hoping their first ever NRLW home game will provide them with a big advantage over the St George Illawarra Dragons on Sunday and set them up for success in the business end of the competition.  

Last season the Warriors clocked up just under 14,000kms of air travel across their three Holden Women's Premiership games, travelling to Sydney twice and Melbourne once, with the toll from it cited as a major reason why they struggled through their final two games.

The Auckland-based side will become the first club to host a standalone NRLW match when they take on the Dragons at Mount Smart Stadium, and coach Luisa Avaiki said it comes at an ideal time.

"One challenge that we will not have to face this week is travel, and that's the biggest thing," Avaiki said.

"If I could have wished the home game for any week it would be this week. It will mean that we are a little bit fresher when we travel again in the third week.

"We have got an opportunity here to keep that momentum [from round 1] going forward, and not travelling definitely helps."

Warriors v Dragons : NRLW Round 2

While many of the side's players have taken the field at Mount Smart Stadium for the Kiwi Ferns, captain Georgia Hale said it will be a different feeling doing it as a Warrior.  

"I have never actually been in that [NRL] dressing room before a game, so that's really exciting," Hale said.

"To run out of the tunnel and to play in front of Warriors supporters and friends and family wearing Warriors colours… it's going to be very special.

"I've been supporting this club from a young age and working here as well, and I'm really proud to put on that Warriors jersey."

One advantage they won't have this week is the unknown factor surrounding off-season recruit Charntay Poko, who was arguably the competition's standout player in week one.

The Kiwi Ferns playmaker scored a try, ran for 73 metres and broke five tackles in the 16-12 win over the Roosters, as well as setting a new NRLW record for kick metres in a game with 515, including a 40/30.

"We expect that [Poko will be targeted]… that game last week was her introducing herself to the rugby league community," Avaiki said.

"After the game they were all asking who she was and she got interviewed, I said to her 'you know you've got a target on your back next week' and she just said 'yep, it's all good'.

"There will be other key people in our team who will have to take that responsibility and heat off her."

Poko was the only Warrior to kick against the Roosters and she received the ball 33 times, while halves partner Timaima Ravisa touched the ball just nine times.

Hooker Krystal Rota acknowledged they would need to play with more balance against the Dragons.

"We used Poko a lot in last week's game but I don't think that's going to be possible this week," Rota said.

"It's just being smart in how we go about that and getting more use out of our other half in 'Maima'.

"I think that they are definitely going to try and shut down Poko's kicking game. We had a brief chat about it and just have to make sure we protect her and don't overuse her."

If both the Warriors and Brisbane Broncos win this weekend they will secure their place in the NRLW Grand Final with a week to spare, before facing each other in round 3 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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