Shaun Johnson should be the solution. Instead, he's becoming the problem.
How long do the Warriors and their fans wait until the overly-vaunted No7 becomes a star who can be relied on? Will he ever?
Johnson won the Golden Boot last season, an award always at the mercy of international voting vagaries. He might be one of the best players in the world, but he certainly isn't THE best. And the start of the 2015 season is proving it unfortunately.
Johnson had been underwhelming in the opening three rounds and was annoyingly erratic in defeat against the Brisbane Broncos at Mt Smart Stadium. The problem for coach Andrew McFadden is an erratic chief playmaker - and someone who presumably takes a decent whack out of the salary cap - means an erratic team. His form will heavily dictate the club's fortunes.
The big mystery is Johnson's lack of involvement in the initial games. From the sidelines, it's hard to know whether this has something to do with the game plan, but if it does then it is a strange plan. Even the towering bombs, a big part of Johnson's arsenal, have been claimed too easily by opponents, although that might not be his fault alone.
His straight out errors against the Broncos included chucking a long pass into touch, missing a close-range go-ahead conversion, and mediocre line drop-outs including one shocker. Late in the match, with the ball bobbling about, he was all arms and legs but couldn't secure possession.
There were also examples of why he is rated so highly, including pinpoint short restarts plus a trademark run and inside ball to set up a try. But overall, he was all over the place again and his first half was particularly bad.
Within what appears to be the limits of his ability, Johnson's foil Chad Townsend is doing everything possible to get the Warriors ticking over. It's the supposed superstar who is letting the side down.
Johnson is in his fifth NRL season, and not far off his 100th game, a mark coaches reckon is when players find their feet in the demanding first-grade.
The injured Sam Tomkins was missed because he adds a lot of life and confidence to the Warriors' attacks. But that's no excuse for Johnson going flat. Johnson needs to build a foundation in each game, and let the magic flow when the right moments arrive.
Forwards Simon Mannering, Ryan Hoffman and Ben Matulino are leading the way superbly. There are promising newcomers, although Solomone Kata's inexperience was costly in the final stanza against Brisbane. There is enough in this team for them to be title challengers. But it won't happen unless Johnson gets his act together.
The Roosters yesterday brushed aside a disappointing Canberra 34-6 in their NRL match at Allianz Stadium in Sydney. The Roosters ran in six tries to one.
Standoff James Maloney, off-contract at the end of the season, had a storming game and his excellent all-round display was capped off with a runaway try after being put clear by wing Daniel Tupou.