The Warriors' miserable luck against St George Illawarra continued with a hamstring injury crueling Kieran Foran's long-awaited club debut before they slumped to an error-strewn 26-12 NRL defeat in Sydney tonight.
Their misfortune began before kick-off at UOW Jubilee Stadium, with the ongoing saga around Foran's highly anticipated playing return taking another dramatic twist that saw the Kiwis international injured in the warm-up to delay his comeback for at least another week.
The 26-year-old playmaker was this week cleared to play his first game in almost a year after overcoming a long-term shoulder injury but the hamstring and lower back problems that plagued him throughout previous stints at both Manly and Parramatta returned to haunt him.
Foran was rushed in to the sheds for treatment before his late scratching prompted a major backline reshuffle, with Tui Lolohea shifting from the right wing into the number six role and 18th man Blake Ayshford coming in to right centre to push David Fusitu'a out to the flank.
"It's been pretty much a 12-month build-up for it so he's pretty gutted about it all," said coach Stephen Kearney.
"We've been hit with the bad luck brush over the last three weeks with Issac (Luke) and Simon(Mannering) in week one, Roger (Tuivasa-Sheck) in week two, Manu (Vatuvei) in week three and now Kieran but that's not an excuse.
"He had some good strength in it straight after the game and when he came back into the sheds right after he did it. But until 24 hours have passed we won't know how he's pulled up."
Things continued to go wrong after the opening whistle, with captain Tuivasa-Sheck losing possession in their first set, a trend that would continue before they finished with 21 errors to see their completion rate plummet to just 63 per cent.
The poor start allowed the Dragons to get off and running with early tries to Paul Vaughan, Josh McCrone, and Josh Dugan helping them to a 20-8 halftime lead.
The visitors lone first-half four-pointer to Issac Luke was followed up by a second to Ken Maumalo early in the second-half to give them a glimmer of hope, before Dragons centre Tim Lafai put the game beyond reach with a fourth try in the 54th minute.
The Warriors pressed hard in the last quarter but more mistakes and determined defence consigned them to a third-straight loss after four rounds.
"At this level you just can't compete with that amount of mistakes," said Kearney.
"We put ourselves in a position to really challenge even though we let the game get away to start off with but you can't do that if you're making errors like those numbers.
"There was some fight from the boys in that they fought their way back into the contest but we just didn't execute enough to capitalise on those opportunities."
The defeat extends their terrible away record against the Dragons to 12 losses from 13 games since 1999, with last year's hoodoo-breaking victory at Mt Smart their only victory over the Red V in the last decade.
The result also soured vice-captain and former skipper Simon Mannering's 262nd club appearance that saw him surpass the record held by former halfback and current assistant coach Stacey Jones to become the most-capped player in Warriors history.
Dragons 26 (Paul Vaughan, Josh McCrone, Josh Dugan, Tim Lafai tries, Gareth Widdop 4 cons, 1 pen)
Warriors 12 (Issac Luke, Ken Maumalo tries, cons, Shaun Johnson 1 con, 1 pen)