St George Illawarra have been warned to expect a deafening reception when they face Warrington in the opening match of the World Club Series.


The Dragons’ England-born five-eighth Gareth Widdop knows full well that the crowds will be a factor favouring the home teams this weekend, but is predicting his burgeoning partnership with halfback Benji Marshall will pass the test.

“I’ve only experienced it once or twice. It’s unbelievable,” Widdop, who enjoyed World Club Challenge success with Melbourne in 2013, told AAP.

“It’s something you’ve got to take in early on. It certainly helps the home town with the crowd getting behind their team, but it’s very enjoyable.

“The first 20 minutes you’ve just got to take it all in because it’s certainly going to be loud.

“As playmakers, you’ve just got to try and communicate the best you can.

“After a full pre-season with training alongside Benji, we know how each other plays a bit now, so that should take the crowd (noise) out of it a little bit.

“We won’t have to do too much talking to each other, we can just look at each other and know what each other is going to do.”

Warrington enter the clash in bright form, having won their opening two Super League fixtures, while the Dragons are coming off a 12-12 Charity Shield draw with premiers South Sydney.

Should the Dragons win, it would put the Australian clubs in a strong position to take home the inaugural World Club Series trophy – with heavyweights South Sydney and Brisbane to play on the weekend.

Coach Paul McGregor on Thursday named a 19-man squad, cutting Peter Mata’utia from the 20 taken to the UK, which will be further reduced by two before kick off on Saturday morning (AEDT).

“The boys are really excited to be able to play on the international stage and they know how important this game is for us as a club,” McGregor said.

“Warrington are a great team we know we’re in for a very tough match.”

Meanwhile, Warrington coach Tony Smith has also named a 19-man squad, which includes NRL veterans Roy Asotasi, Joel Monaghan and Ashton Sims.

“It’s not been hard for me to build this game up for the players,” Smith said.