After last night's win over the Knights at home, the Warriors are poised to make their return to the NRL playoffs for the first time in seven seasons. Here's what we learned from the 20-4 victory.
1. RTS is a metre-making machine
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has taken "lead by example" to a whole new level this season for the Warriors.
The captain is averaging just over 180m for the season and saw that increase plenty after last night's 338m performance. He leads the NRL in kick return metres with 1,091m for the season and is third in overall running metres with 3,490m.
His ability to produce attacking chances from nothing with his step and acceleration was in full display last night and can be a game changer going forward.
2. The second half curse is broken
Assistant coach Stacey Jones said after the halftime chat (they led 12-4 at the time) the message to the boys was to set the tempo early in the second half and not flounder like they had the last three weeks where they'd failed to score any points in the second 40 minutes.
They did just that.
The Warriors absolutely dominated territory in the second half and it wasn't just with RTS' runs. The Knights were continuously pinned down in their half with sub-40m sets and it wore them out.
At games end, the Warriors had a 700m advantage in metres gained over Newcastle. Most of that came in the second 40.
3. Blake Green is the level-head the Warriors need
Shaun Johnson's game has opened up this season but the major reason it works is because he has a composed veteran alongside him helping out.
Blake Green's ability to read the game and understand the options available late in the set was on full display last night, leading to a stellar solo try in the second half. But even before that, he used all his knowledge to put the Knights' line in disarray and free up Johnson who in turn gave it to Fusitu'a to finish in the right corner.
Add in a sound kicking game (he leads the NRL in 40/20s) and the Kiwi club has a sound veteran who will prove a big asset in playoffs footy.
4. The short goal-line dropout is a weapon - for now
The Warriors were forced into two goal-line dropouts last night by the Knights. Twice Johnson went short. Twice Fusitu'a rose up to contest it. Twice the Warriors recovered the ball.
The Warriors have been employing the short dropout frequently as of late and had a lot of success with it. That sends two messages. One. They're confident it'll work. Two. They're confident in their defence if it doesn't.
That latter point is the more interesting one and it could be a big difference in the long run. Coming into playoff season, top eight clubs are going to study that play and come up with counters to it so whether it remains as potent as it is now remains to be seen.
5. It's just a matter of faith
Sure, it's not set in stone that the Warriors are in the playoffs just yet with the Tigers still giving chase but last night's win means they will finish round 22 no lower than seventh.
The Broncos' loss to the Cowboys has dropped them to eighth and should the Sharks lose to the Storm tonight, the Warriors will sneak ahead of them to sit sixth.
There's only three rounds left after this week before finals footy with two of those matches taking place at Mt Smart - a win on either occasion against the Panthers or Raiders will seal it or they could get the job done away against the Bulldogs next week.
Either way, the seven year wait looks over. It's just a matter of faith.