It is time to panic Warriors fans.

You're in for another season of bitter disappointment. This Warriors side has loser DNA and it is hard to see how they can possibly turn it around so inept was their performance against the Bulldogs - a side in for a long year themselves.

Three games in and there are no signs this Warriors side will be any better this season than the previous five that bombed badly. In a hard salary-capped league the teams that figure out quickly that they don't have it and immediately start building for the future will improve quickest. This week, albeit with only three games as a sample size, the Warriors need to seriously and honestly look at whether they can make the playoffs and then compete well once they get there. If they don't think that is realistic they need to make immediate change.

The red zone at both ends of the field was about as bad as it gets last night. The Warriors had a ridiculous amount of ball in the first half hour against the Bulldogs. Des Hasler's side kept turning the ball over cheaply and then gave away umpteen piggy-back penalties to allow the Warriors out of their own end. You simply don't get that sort of weight of possession very often in the NRL.

Advertisement

Despite all of that being handed to them on a platter they couldn't come up with anything on attack that resembled first grade quality. Barring a bland run-around play with the first receiver the Warriors didn't seem to have any kind of play book. The theory simply seemed to be throw it at Shaun Johnson and see if he could create something. Problem is he didn't have players around him giving him any options.

Johnson's play is far too laterally. He surely ran more metres sideways than forwards last night. Eventually his class shone through and he created a try for himself but the Warriors aren't going to win much on the back of that philosophy this season.

Where are the fast play-the-balls? Where is the creativity out of dummy half? Where are the dummy runners and hole runners to give the play-makers some options? Nowhere to be seen based on the first three weeks. This forward pack is still weak compared to the other 15 clubs. It just doesn't bend the line and therefore doesn't get quick ball. Kieran Foran will not fix that no matter how well he plays.

At the other end of the field the Warriors looked disorganized and lacked desperation when defending their own line. Make no mistake - the Bulldogs are a poor attacking team but they badly exposed the Warriors almost every time they went into the red zone.

It seems inexplicable that this Warriors side can show such a lack of heart and effort given what they have been through the past few seasons. It might be time Jim Doyle and Stephen Kearney made some big and tough calls.

They could start with moving on from fan favourite and club legend Manu Vatuvei. He is never going to get back to his previous best. Injuries have caught up with him and his career-long short-comings now outweigh the ball-carrying and try-scoring feats he once starred with. The decision to re-sign him to a long-term contract was poor and it is costing them badly.

Likewise it is clear that veteran forwards Ryan Hoffman and Jacob Lillyman don't provide what this team needs and they need to be moved on. The salary cap prevents the club from signing replacements for this season but playing younger players like Bunty Afoa and Isaiah Papali'I will bode well for future seasons.

It is also time to give up on the over-hyped, over-rated and everywhere man Tui Lolohea. Future star he isn't. If he wants a release - give it to him. The guy has no clue when the pressure goes on. He is too much of a project to invest in and they'd be better off letting him clean up the mess in his game at a club that isn't in rebuild mode. His jumping up and down on the spot gives all the impression of a deer in the headlights not knowing where to run.

Sam Lisone is almost a mini-version of the Warriors problems. He shows a lot of promise but despite now being in season three of his first grade career he continues to make rookie mistakes that undo a lot of the good work he does. He has genuinely turned the momentum in games already this season but every game there will be the token unforced error followed up with an unnecessary penalty - the ones that frustrate the coach.

Issac Luke needs a rocket and Johnson needs to toughen up. If they don't like that message - dump them to reserve grade. The club is paying them too much not to expect more from them.

The Warriors have a reasonable amount of cap space available to them for 2018. To wisely spend that they need to figure out what they realistically have this year. Waiting until round 8-10 will be too late. They need to get in and get the cream of the crop before rival clubs start picking away at the options.

They have decisions to make and, unlike their onfield performance, it is time to be ruthless.