Dragons keen to keep mental edge

RUGBY LEAGUE

For years they have been taunted by the Raiders' hoodoo and perplexed by finding a way to end it but the Dragons have carved out their own stranglehold on the Warriors.

After they silenced preseason doubters with an emphatic round one victory over the Wests Tigers, the Dragons head to Eden Park on Saturday looking to build on an eight-game winning streak.

The Warriors have to look back to 2007 to find their last victory over the Dragons, a 44-16 win at Mt Smart Stadium, and while the Warriors have never tasted victory in 10 games at WIN Stadium, the Dragons won six of nine games in New Zealand, including their past three straight meetings.

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In fact the Dragons have a better head-to-head record against the Warriors than they do against any other NRL side - they played them 20 times since 1999 for 16 wins.

Most recently the Dragons buried the Warriors' 2013 finals chances with a 19-10 victory at WIN Stadium in round 26 last year.

The record may be flattering but Dragons utility Kyle Stanley said his side can't afford to take anything for granted against the competition's most unpredictable team.

"It's always hard to travel over there and play the Warriors," Stanley said.

"You just have to expect the unexpected.

"That's how the Warriors play and they win a lot of games off that.

"I'm sure they'll be fired up because they didn't get the win last week.

"It's going to be a good physical battle between their big boys and ours."

In contrast to the winning run against the Warriors, the Dragons lost their past nine to the Raiders and 15 of their past 16 games.

They haven't won in the national capital since 2000.

Stanley said the Dragons will take more confidence out of their round one performance, in which they notched their first 40-plus score for the first time since 2009, than their imposing record against the Warriors.

"The result last week has really brought a positive vibe to the group and that's really good leading into the clash with the Warriors," Stanley said.

"Training in the pre-season we worked really hard on our attack and in round one we scored 44 points.

"It was great to be out there off the back of our forward pack sniffing around the middle and taking advantage of all the open space."

The Warriors were lacklustre in their 36-16 loss to the Eels in round one with star Shaun Johnson particularly quiet.

DRAGONS v WARRIORS 

Head-to-head record since 2008

• 2008 Round 24: Dragons d Warriors 34-16 WIN Stadium

• 2009 Round 8: Dragons d Warriors 12-11 WIN Stadium

• 2009 Round 20: Dragons d Warriors 29-4 Mt Smart Stadium

• 2010 Round 13: Dragons d Warriors 22-20 Mt Smart Stadium

• 2011 Round 3: Dragons d Warriors 25-12 Mt Smart Stadium

• 2011 Round 25: Dragons d Warriors 26-22 WIN Stadium

• 2012 Round 25: Dragons d Warriors 38-6 WIN Stadium

• 2013 Round 26: Dragons d Warriors 19-10 WIN Stadium

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