An emotional video from families back in New Zealand spurred the Warriors on ahead of their impressive return to the NRL season on Saturday.

Stephen Kearney's side were near perfect in an 18-0 defeat of the St George-Illawarra Dragons as they earned their first win of the season.

The Warriors have spent four weeks in Australia and are likely to be there until at least round nine to keep the competition running after the coronavirus shutdown.

After losing their first two games of the season in March, the Warriors looked a totally different team following the coronavirus break, at one point producing 44 straight sets without a mistake - an NRL record.


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Warriors centre Karl Lawton revealed a video with messages from the players' families on Friday night really hit home with the squad on the eve of Saturday's game in Gosford.

"[It] Touched base with everyone, the reason why we are over here and what the sacrifices were made and what we're doing it for. I think it touched home for a lot of the boys and it was quite an emotional video," he said.

"The boys responded well to it. It was a touching thing when all the families get on there and say how much they are missing us and that we are doing it of them…it was an emotional segment but it was good."

Lawton said having to quarantine in Tamworth after arriving in Australia has helped bring the side closer.

"The bonding definitely helps on and off the field. You're with each other every single day, eating and training. I've had a couple of roommates here. It just translates onto the field and also you've got each other's backs. You look at the game in the weekend and it just shows that it works.

"We're a tight bunch as it is. You can't get much tighter than living together. I think we're as tight as we'll get," he said.

Kearney said Saturday's win was satisfying after the ordeal his team has endured over the past few months.


"I was pretty pleased for the boys. I'm really proud of the way they've gone about the last couple of months," Kearney said.

"The way they've responded in the last couple of months, they've just got on with the job and that's what I was most pleased about.

"It means a great deal to not only the group but to families back home. We've got a footy club that's still operating, all our footy staff back home, administration and all of our fans.

"I know there would have been a lot of them watching it was really pleasing to put in a performance they can be proud of."