All you need to know ahead of the Warriors' first match of the NRL restart against the Dragons.

New Zealand Warriors v St George Illawara Dragons

It's back! After weeks of will they or won't they, bizarre bubble plans, and government exemptions, the Warriors will finally play in the NRL - and you can watch it for free, in New Zealand.

Sky TV is offering free access to their sports service for all New Zealanders today, allowing Kiwis to tune in to watch the Warriors take on the Dragons from 5.00pm in their first game since the NRL season was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"To celebrate Kiwi sport getting back up, New Zealanders who don't already have Sky on tap are being invited to watch the first Warriors game in the restarted season on us, on Sky's streaming service, Sky Sport Now," said Sky's Chief Content Officer Tex Teixeira.

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"We wanted the Warriors to really feel the love from the team of 5 million – so we've given complimentary access to Sky Sport Now streaming for 24 hours."

To take up the deal, head to skysportnow.co.nz, click on "BUY PASS and choose the "Day Pass On Us", and then register to access the "On us" pass.

In case you missed it, here's some of what the Warriors have had to go through to get here during a pandemic:

• Warriors players had to leave their families behind to be based in Australia, with the prospect of not seeing their loved ones for up to six months.

• The Warriors underwent a two-week quarantine period in Tamworth after they received a government exemption to fly into Australia.

• They also received special dispensation from the NRL to loan rival players after four middle forwards were ruled out with injury.

Stephen Kearney's side are finally ready to go and are hoping to bounce back from two straight losses before the season was suspended.

The Dragons have also struggled with two losses in a row and sit only two places above the Warriors in the NRL ladder at 13th.

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Kickoff: 5pm on Saturday 30 May at Central Coast Stadium

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Squads

The Warriors made wholesale changes for their first game of the revised season.

Kiwis international Gerard Beale returns from a knee injury, while backs Patrick Herbert and Peta Hiku also rejoin the starting lineup.

They replace Adam Pompey, injured Adam Keighran and David Fusitu'a, who only just got out of quarantine after arriving late in Australia because of personal reasons.

Kodi Nikorima got the nod in the halves alongside halfback Blake Green, with Chanel Harris-Tavita on the bench.

Former Warrior Issac Luke won't get a shot at facing his old club after being left out of the Dragons' 21-man squad, with coach Paul McGregor explaining that Luke had been ill.

Luke was tested and cleared for Covid-19 but didn't make the squad as he had missed several training sessions.

The New Zealand Warriors train at Central Coast Stadium. Photo / Photosport
The New Zealand Warriors train at Central Coast Stadium. Photo / Photosport

Warriors:

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Patrick Herbert, Pita Hiku, Gerard Beale, Ken Maumalo, Kodi Nikorima, Blake Green, Lachlan Burr, Wayde Egan, Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, Isaiah Papali'i, Tohu Harris, Adam Blair.

Interchange:

Karl Lawton, King Vuniyayawa, Agnatius Paasi, Eliesa Katoa, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Josh Curran, Adam Pompey, Jack Murchie.

Dragons: Matthew Dufty, Jordan Pereira, Brayden Wiliame, Zac Lomax, Mikaele Ravalawa, Corey Norman, Ben Hunt, Korbin Sims, Cameron McInnes, Paul Vaughan, Tyson Frizell, Tariq Sims, James Graham. Interchange: Josh Kerr, Blake Lawrie, Tyrell Fuimaono, Euan Aitken, Trent Merrin, Adam Clune, Jacob Host, Jackson Ford.

How to watch/stream

The Herald will be live blogging the match. Live coverage on Sky Sport 4 starts at 4.30pm, or, as above, you can watch live on Sky Sport Now.

Odds

The TAB has the Warriors at $2.35 and the Dragons at $1.57.

Recent meetings

2019: Warriors won 26-18
2018: Warriors won 18-12
2018: Warriors won 20-12
2017: Dragons won 30-14
2017: Dragons won 26-12
2016: Warriors won 26-10
2015: Dragons won 36-0