When things get tough tonight - as they invariably do when you face the Storm in Melbourne - the Warriors won't need to look far for inspiration in their NRL Anzac Day showdown.

In the vein of Denzel Washington's 2000 film Remember the Titans, the cry of "Remember the Dragons" will resonate throughout the Warriors team.

It's because that match last Saturday night in Auckland against the St George Illawarra Dragons might have far-reaching consequences.

It feels like the night the 2018 edition of the Warriors came of age and could be the making of this team.


The 20-12 victory showed they are the real deal, and that all the hope built up so far in 2018 is justified.

Until last Saturday, it was easy for cynics to find some holes in the Warriors' achievements.

Perhaps they were lucky against Canberra, perhaps the Roosters took them too lightly, and perhaps the Cowboys had an off night.

But the Dragons performance left no doubt.

Against the form team in the premiership, with the Shaun Johnson absence, Tohu Harris' early exit and the Blake Green sinbinning, the Warriors showed a force of will rarely seen at Mt Smart in recent years.

Despite St George Illawarra - who have the best attacking record in the NRL so far in 2018 - monopolising possession and territory there was an eerie feeling the entire game that no matter what went against them, the Warriors weren't going to lose.

It's the kind of performance that puts an exclamation mark on the season, and that even at this early stage marks them out as contenders for September finals football.

The next test comes at AAMI Park and it will be a stern examination.


If last Saturday's win was built on emotion, especially the swarming defence, the Warriors will need to be more scientific in Melbourne, particularly given the short time turnaround.

After a stuttering start to the season, the Storm are kicking into gear, with the 34-20 defeat of the Broncos last Friday their best display of the season so far.

They'll look to expose the inexperienced players in the Warriors' lineup, with Mason Lino, Anthony Gelling, Ken Maumalo and Isaiah Papali'i sure to be targeted.

Coach Craig Bellamy's team will also send plenty of traffic at Blake Green - as the Broncos did with some success two weeks ago - as the former Storm pivot is a key man.

The home team will also try to utilise their speed advantage, with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck the only one who can match Josh Addo-Carr, Suliasi Vunivalu and Billy Slater, and take advantage of Cameron Munster's superlative form.

The Warriors will rely on another monster forward effort, though may miss heavyweights such as Harris, Leivaha Pulu and James Gavet.

They'll also look to increase their sharpness and solidity when in possession, hoping for just their third Anzac Day win over Melbourne in 10 clashes.