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Up the Wahs: What it will take for Webster's Warriors to repeat last season's success

Jaxin Daniels

Opinion: A NZ Warriors fan's wish list for 2024

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Warriors fans are in unfamiliar territory entering the NRL season - boasting a huge amount of optimism.

After a stellar 2023 season, supporters are hoping the good form continues with ambitions of bringing the first premiership back to New Zealand.

Here are some things the Warriors need to do to ensure success.

Second-season slump

First up is not being complacent after a season of exceeding expectations.

We saw this slump with the Cowboys last year after they had a successful 2022 season when they made the preliminary final, exactly like the Warriors in 2023.

Riding off the success of last season is good for morale, but the team cannot afford to lose that mentality that built the success.

With big names leaving and others potentially moving on from league next year, this might be the best chance we’ve had at a premiership win.

Hopefully history doesn’t repeat itself and the Warriors stay true to themselves and keep this train rolling.

Get Roger firing

The chosen one has retuned.

The club’s only Dally M winner (should’ve been two given Shaun Johnson's 2023 season) has returned from his two-year stint in rugby to bolster the edge of whichever side he will play on.

Having Roger Tuivasa-Sheck play in the centres is a luxury Warriors fans didn’t know was possible, allowing a spine that succeeded together last year to go into a new season virtually the same.

We’ve seen the success of a roaming centre work well in the past, with Joseph Manu being able to pop up at different places in the attack and inject a deadly amount of attacking prowess, so here’s hoping we can see Tuivasa-Sheck fire in a similar role.

Flush mistakes

Tohu Harris’ men must make sure they quickly learn from and then immediately forget mistakes or injustices.

We saw the way the game got away from the Warriors after the forward pass in the preliminary final against the Broncos, which up until that moment was extremely competitive.

Heads dropped and so did the defence, allowing the Broncos to run in three converted tries in the last 25 minutes.

As a fan, if there is one thing I would love to see, it’s more resilience in the face of bad calls and mistakes.

These things will happen, it is seemingly in the Warriors’ DNA, but the way we bounce back from this will dictate how this team goes.

Lift the energy at home

How good were the home games at Go Media Mount Smart last year?

This was a major factor to the Wahs’ success and we need more of that this year.

We aren’t that feel-good story of “the team that sacrificed so much during Covid” now.

Teams will circle our name and come at us like we are defending champs - there is no escaping it.

Seeing the crowd fully packed when the Storm and Broncos come to town will help the team lift when the going gets tough.

If we, as fans, can replicate the atmosphere of last season, the Warriors will be a force to be reckoned with at home.

In Webby we trust

At the end of the day, we’ve got a coach we can back and know that whatever he’s doing is best for the team.

It’s not often teams can bring in a first-time head coach and see instant impact, especially at the Warriors.

Andrew Webster has already become somewhat of a cult hero at the club, and we want him around for a long time.

He knows what New Zealand wants, and he wants it too.

I can smell it in the water: if the Warriors can do these things correctly, it might really be our year.

Hero Image: Young Warriors fans seeing their team succeed for quite possibly the first time.

Photo / Supplied/ Photosport

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