The NRLW hit New Zealand shores for the first time as the Dragons ran in five unanswered second half tries to take a 26-6 victory over the Warriors in front of a passionate crowd of around 3,000 fans at Mt Smart Stadium.
The game started in some confusion as Dragons forward Maitua Feterika who was named on Tuesday was ruled out by the NRL over a registration issue only for approval to be given in the final few minutes before kick-off.
The first thirty minutes was a tough contest as the Warriors were the only team to cross the line which came in the 15th minute when Onjerulina Leiatua got over off the back of a short ball from Krystal Rota at dummy-half. Although this was the only try of the opening half, the Dragons were able to get their way over the line twice only to be denied by the officials once when Kezie Apps were held up and then when Rikeya Horne was denied by a forward pass call.
The second half started with an error from the Dragons off the kick-off and things were looking down for the Dragons but that ended up being their only lowlight of the second half for the Dragons. The Red ‘V' then started to fire as they went bang bang soon after as Shaylee Bent ran a dangerous line after Keeley Davis double pumped and put Bent through to score. The try to put the Dragons in front came just three minutes later as a poor kick from the Warriors gave the Dragons a 20m restart which the Warriors couldn't defend as the Dragons got their momentum up and Tiana Penitani got a deserved try after being denied in the first half.
The Warriors were looking to get some momentum and back to back penalties would help them but an error saw them give it up and the Dragons took the ball back the other way. The Dragons third second half try came when they were able to keep the ball alive on the last and Maddie Studdon poked a kick through that took a deflection of the post padding and Maitua Feterika got to it first and scored. Following Studdon's conversion the Dragons lead by 16-6.
The floodgates were well and truly open at Mt Smart Stadium and the Dragons were able to put two tries on in the final five minutes, one through Jess Sergis who got her way through off a good ball from Maddie Studdon and then Botille Vette-Welsh went like the flash creating something out of nothing in her own end as she ran 85m to score.
The victory for the Dragons has pushed them into second spot on points difference ahead of the Warriors. The Warriors next week take on the Brisbane Broncos at the Sydney Cricket Ground in a must win clash, whilst the Dragons could seal their grand-final spot with a game on Sunday afternoon against the Roosters at Leichhardt Oval.