After very nearly mounting the Intrust Super Premiership’s summit in 2017, the Warriors were asked to start their climb over this season.
Though this time, the Warriors fielded a team with much less experience than the one that went before.
At the end of 24 rounds, the Auckland-based team finished with 10 wins, 12 losses to their name.
Youthful players were asked to fill key positions – fullback, five-eighth and hooker – and did so aptly.
But missing the experience and the ability to win the ‘big moments’, so with it went the Warriors hopes of being a genuine title threat.
THE KEY NUMBER
The Warriors’ attack was a shadow of its 2017-self this season, scoring at an average of 6 points less per game (25p/g in 2017, 19.5 in 2018).
On three occasions this season the Warriors fell by six points or less, costing them 6 competition points.
If the Warriors were to have won those matches, in theory the side would have finished in the all-important top four.
From there – as we were reminded of in the 2018 finals series – it’s anyone’s game.
THE RISING STAR
19-year-old Warriors fullback Hayze Perham carried big raps with him throughout the club’s under-20 ranks (then-NYC) in 2017, this season his first against the ‘men’ in open-aged football.
Perham turned out in 21 matches for the Warriors this season, scoring six tries and assisting for eight others.
The Junior Kiwis’ No.1 was Jersey Flegg Cup-eligible in 2018, and will again be next season, but expect the 19-year-old star to feature heavily in the Warriors’ ISP team in 2019.
HOW IT WILL BE REMEMBERED
The Warriors’ exit from the 2018 ISP competition, for the most part, sums up the side’s season – they were close, but not close enough.
Injuries at the NRL level tested the club’s depth, with noted No.7 Mason Lino making his presence felt in the top grade – but to the detriment of the Warriors’ ISP chances.
Out-going Wentworthville Magpies coach Nathan Cayless links with the Warriors in 2019 and will oversee the side’s efforts to challenge next season.