So this is a fanatic's guide to the Warriors season of 2018. It is a reason for the wowsers, doubters and fly-by-nighters to pay attention because we might well be onto something.
A stat I didn't know, or had forgotten, is we haven't won our 2 opening games back to back since 2009. So that alone is reason to feel good, but far from the only reason. If you didn't see the game because you have given up or because you were never that gripped, I of course being the 22 year long tragic did, and let me tell you this: what's different this year is several fold.
Firstly, they're fit, they're fit and healthy. They look different, physically different and everyone including the Australian commentators have noticed.
Secondly, they're winning, and not just winning but winning well. The two victories so far are over good sides, top 8 sides, sides that have gone to the finals. And those sides in their two losses didn't play badly, these have not been flukey wins. They have not been wins where they lead and blow it, or capitulate. The Titans on Saturday had a lot of ball, played like you would expect them to, but couldn't score. In another game in another season, they would have won.
They would have crossed the line, the Warriors belief would have been shattered, and we would have lost. There was never a hint of a prospect of that on Saturday.
Thirdly, they have recruited well. Green, Blair and co are playing the way they're supposed to, they're making an impact, they look like they're good hires.
Fourth: Tuivasa-Sheck is a revelation. All that promise that we have not seen so far is playing out in front of our eyes. He is inspirational, a try-saver, a leader, he looks a million bucks.
Fifth: Issac Luke, who also promised much and delivered nothing, is a new man. He's fit and fast and devastating out of the play of the ball.
Sixth: Johnson is a new man given he's got Green to set him free. So not only is Green good individually, he's letting Johnson be better.
Seventh: They're poised, they look professional, they look like a side that wants to be a success. And all this without Mannering. Mannering is a leader, he's the bloke who the others look up to. If we're good now, it can only get better when he's back.
Two things to worry about: one, injuries. Injuries always haunt us, so fingers crossed given really, there is not a lot you can do about them. And two, Johnson can't kick. Goals that is, he missed a couple he should have got. Didn't matter on Saturday, but in other games when two or four is the difference it will.
We need an 85 percent kicker and he isn't it, or if he is, he's not showing it. But, and here's the exciting thing, these guys look at long long last like a complete side. All the bits that were flakey or brittle or missing are there: fitness, health, pace, determination, consistency, professionalism. I know I say it every year, but its been many a year since i have felt this confident so early on. Doubters, naysayers, get on board or be disappointed.
This is our year.