The Warriors significantly improved their equation for making the NRL playoffs with a storming first half against the Bulldogs and a close-out that suggests they have a realistic chance of getting to the finals series.
But next weekend may not be one of them, even though the champion Storm side will come on a short turn-around after playing the Dragons in Melbourne tonight.
Aidan Kirk is the only injury concern for the Warriors, suffering a thigh cork early in the win over a Dogs side missing key component Sonny Bill Williams who was ruled out with a back injury but is not expected to miss more games.
Kirk should be okay for the confrontation with the Storm at Mt Smart next Sunday and it is hard to see Warriors coach Ivan Cleary changing what has been a winning team three weeks running. Big test wing Manu Vatuvei is likely to be kept back another week to repair his leg injury.
The offer of free entry to the Olympic Stadium in Sydney on Saturday night attracted 2893 New Zealand or Pacific Island passport holders, nearly a quarter of the crowd of 12,973. They watched for just 82 seconds before Sonny Fai scored in the left corner and via quick hands and support play, plus some poor Bulldogs defence, they rattled on six tries for a 30-6 halftime lead.
Ineffectual gang tackles by the Bulldogs left gaps and the Warriors off-loaded to take advantage of them. They enjoyed a 65/35 split of possession before the break and made use of it.
The Dogs responded in the second when they had their hands on the ball but didn't look like winning and at the end the visitors closed the game out with two further tries including one for skipper Steve Price who now avoids the end-of-year nude sprint around the training paddock for those who fail to get a four-pointer all season. It was his first win as a Warrior over his old club.
Rookie wing Malo Solomona got a hat-trick and appears set for a long run in the NRL, with good finishing skills to the fore and a strong defence. The effort and attitude all round were improved. Brent Tate, Simon Mannering and Lance Hohaia repeatedly cut holes in attack and there were some wonderfully entertaining tries produced.
They made 11 line breaks to the Dogs' three, that helped by a missed-tackle count of 43 by the home team. Defensive effort was probably the thing that most pleased the coach. The Warriors missed just 11 tackles.
The Auckland club now sits on 20 points, with the top-eight cut-off likely to be 28. Their destiny is solidly in their own hands because among the teams they face in seeking four more wins from seven games are the Dragons, Panthers and Broncos who all sit just above them and the Sharks and Souths who are just behind.
They host the Storm, Broncos, Sharks and Panthers at the tail end of the 26 rounds and will target the latter three of those; they play away to Souths, the Dragons and Eels and will see themselves as a good chance in the first and third of those.
The Dogs season is definitely over. The concern for their coach Steve Folkes was convincing everyone, including his players, that they are not a one-man operation.
He expects Williams to be fit to face the Dragons next Monday but hooker Corey Hughes is in doubt with a rib injury.
The Junior Warriors continue to excite, cutting down a 16-0 lead by their Bulldogs opposites to win 43-38 and push into the top four of the Toyota Cup.
This side is a major star on the Warriors' horizon. Four players including Fai and Solomona have already stepped up to NRL and seven more of the squad are recognised as exciting prospects and are signed to the club.