Kodi Nikorima has returned to the Suncorp Stadium turf he called home just a week ago, burying a Warriors four-game losing streak beneath the old graveyard with a come-from-behind 26-18 defeat of the Dragons.
All eyes were on the ex-Bronco as he turned out wearing new colours in Brisbane, but for 40 minutes St George Illawarra stole the show as they skipped to an 18-6 half-time lead.
Staring down the barrel of their fifth loss on the trot and with first Jazz Tevaga, then Tohu Harris sidelined by head knocks, on recent form the Warriors could have been expected to wilt.
But with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Nikorima pulling the strings the Kiwi side rallied, then ran on with 20 unanswered points that extended the Dragons' own losing run for a third straight week.
While Nikorima enjoyed a happy homecoming, it was nothing but recurring horrors for fellow former Bronco Ben Hunt.
In a cruel reprisal of his infamous knock on in the 2015 grand final, Hunt spilled a 69th-minute dropout that swung the dying stages the Warriors' way.
From it the Warriors marched downfield, with Tuivasa-Sheck's quick hands laying on a Ken Maumalo try which put Stephen Kearney's men in front for the first time.
Match: Warriors v Dragons
Round 9 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
- LIVE PASS
An hour earlier it was all red and white, Nikorima's pint-sized opposite Jai Field running riot in an impressive first outing as Corey Norman's injury replacement.
Following Zac Lomax's opening try from a Hunt bomb, Field's clean pair of heels left the Warriors for dead.
Streaking onto a Paul Vaughan pass, Field gassed Tuivasa-Sheck from 30 metres out for a 10-point lead in as many minutes.
An Agnatius Paasi return of serve, worryingly right through the Dragons' middle from a few metres out, brought the Warriors back into the contest.
A penalty goal and then a barging effort from Cameron McInnes – ploughing through opposite No.9 Nathaniel Roache – kept it firmly in the Red V's keeping.
As the Warriors wearied under a small mountain of defence, only the Dragons' errors while forcing their hand kept them in it.
Nikorima finishes first game with try assist
When Nikorima got a rare sniff and threatened to send Tevaga over, Field was among the Dragons big men scrambling on their line to deny him and maintain a 12-point advantage at the break.
Upon the resumption though Nikorima was at home once more at Suncorp.
Dummying and holding up the Dragons defence, the New Zealand international gave Peta Hiku a one-on-one crack at Lomax, pushing through the youngster's tackle to bring the Warriors within a converted try again.
Sharp passing in the 59th minute had David Fusitu'a over out wide, Tuivasa-Sheck engineering the movement before Patrick Herbert threw the last pass, then converted to level up for a grandstand finish.
Hunt's untimely drop drew jeers and groans from the 37,521 on hand for the killer blow, with Tuivasa-Sheck then igniting a strong Warriors contingent among the masses.
With a minute remaining Harris and Nikorima combined to finally put the Dragons to bed, a left side shift of impeccable timing giving Hiku his second for the night and Stephen Kearney his first win in a month.
Tuivasa-Sheck directs blindside raid