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Rd 26 Confirmed Line-Up: As selected to face Dragons

The One New Zealand Warriors will take the field as selected for their final regular season home match against St George Illawarra at Go Media Stadium tonight (8.00pm kick-off; game day sponsor: Warriors Community Foundation).

Fullback Taine Tuaupiki has been confirmed as 18th man.

Last night Te Maire Martin was one of the three players omitted from the extended bench 24 hours ahead of kick-off.

The 27-year-old Martin was listed on the extended bench in jersey #22 on Tuesday as he closed in on a long-awaited return after fracturing his left fibula in the round six encounter with the Newcastle Knights on April 9.

He was also named in the #6 jersey in the club’s New South Wales Cup side to take on the Dragons in the final round of competition’s regular season in Sydney on Saturday.

He was paired in the halves with Shaun Johnson for five of the One New Zealand Warriors’ first six NRL games, missing the round five clash with the Sharks following a head knock.

He was omitted along with winger Edward Kosi and back rower Kalani Going.

Head coach Andrew Webster has made just one swap to the 17-man combination used in last Friday night’s 29-22 win over the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.

That sees 56-game second rower Josh Curran coming into the starting line up for the fifth time this season with regular starter Jackson Ford moving to the interchange.

The ninth and last regular season match at Go Media Stadium will be highlighted by two major individual milestones and a club landmark as well.

It will be the One New Zealand Warriors’ 300th match at the venue where they have a record of 171 wins, a draw and 127 losses.

Coinciding with the occasion, master halfback Johnson will mark another high point in his exceptional season with his 250th career appearance, his 206th for the One New Zealand Warriors while the remaining 44 were with the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks from 2019-2021.

And captain Tohu Harris will lead the team out in what will be his 100th game for the club after reaching his 200th career milestone in the round three win against the Cowboys in March. He’ll be the 29th player to play 100 games for the One New Zealand Warriors.

Close to the club record of 23 tries in a season is winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak whose hat-trick against the Sea Eagles has him in a three-way tie at the top of the NRL’s try scoring chart with 21 alongside the Dolphins’ Jamayne Isaako and South Sydney’s Alex Johnston.

Watene-Zelezniak is in a supreme vein of try-scoring form unmatched by any player in the club’s history. After scoring two tries in his first four matches of the season, he has exploded with 19 tries in his last 12 games failing to score in just one of them in what has been far and away the most prolific try-scoring campaign of his 12-season NRL career (12 in 2016 was his previous best).

Last Friday night’s win over Manly was the sixth on end since losing to South Sydney on June 30, a feat not achieved since 2002 when the Warriors fashioned a club record eight straight victories; the only other time six consecutive wins had been posted was in 1995.

A seventh win on Friday night will ensure the One New Zealand Warriors confirm their spot in the top four for the finals for the first time since 2007.

They beat the Dragons 48-18 when the two sides last met on June 23. This will be the first time they’ve met at Go Media Stadium since 2018.


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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