Front-rower Jacob Lillyman hopes the Warriors can continue to improve and boost his chances of winning a State of Origin recall for Queensland.
Lillyman was disappointed to be the only incumbent to miss selection for last week's opening interstate encounter in Sydney, after playing the best of his 11 Origin appearances in last year's 52-6 game three thrashing of New South Wales.
The 32-year-old joined the Maroons squad late last week as precautionary cover while halfback Cooper Cronk battled to overcome an ankle injury, and despite being a frustrated spectator as Queensland ground out a 6-4 victory at ANZ Stadium, hopes he can reclaim a spot for the second and third games.
"Having played all three games in a series win, coming off my best Origin game in the third match, I thought I might have been there or thereabouts but unfortunately I missed out," said Lillyman.
"But I got to go across there and spend a few days with the boys in camp, so that was good and it helped me refresh a bit mentally and get ready to play some good footy.
"Kevvy [Queensland coach Kevin Walters] was really good about it and after the match, he said there's still another two games to go, so you never know what could happen."
The time in camp had been a welcome change from the Warriors' woes, following consecutive losses to Penrith and Canberra.
Returning to Auckland with an improved mindset, Lillyman was pleasantly surprised to find his teammates enjoying a relaxed build-up to last week's pressure-relieving win over Brisbane.
"To go across there and be a part of that system, it really refreshed me mentally," he said.
"Coming back for the captain's run before the Broncos, I couldn't believe how upbeat and happy and excited the boys were.
"So whatever Cappy [Warriors coach Andrew McFadden] and the coaching staff did while I was away certainly worked and we played that way against Brisbane."
Despite the Warriors' inconsistent form, Lillyman has been a reliable performer, averaging close to 120 metres and 30 tackles in 50 minutes per outing.
Doubters may question the validity of the side's win over the Broncos and attribute it to their annual mid-season improvement during the Origin period, but the Warriors remain focused on making further improvements in tomorrow's clash against Newcastle at Hunter Stadium.
"A lot of people say that but we can't take too much notice.
"They [NRL games] are all worth two points so we'll just focus on taking those steps forward that we made in the Broncos game into the rest of the year and playing an exciting and enjoyable brand of footy.
"We turned up ready to play and we played some really good footy, so that fact doesn't change at all. We know what effort has gone into the performance and the challenge now is building on that and taking it forward."