Even the images of the five Warriors legends on the NRL club's dressing room walls seem to lean in when coach Andrew McFadden starts his halftime address.
He's precise with his instructions. They have to start again. This is danger time from a Melbourne Storm side loaded with character and skill. Watch for Cameron Smith, pressure Cooper Cronk - messages McFadden gave before kickoff and repeats as the boisterous 17,278 crowd at Mt Smart soaks up the winter warmth of the scoreline on Sunday.
The Warriors lead 16-0 in a vital mid-table clash and need to repeat that impact.
Prop Jacob Lillyman, one of the stars of Queensland's midweek victory in the State of Origin series, reinforces the importance of making full use of their sets and all the right defensive plays.
Fifteen minutes later, the Warriors' error rate has risen and the Storm have halved their deficit. The squeeze is rising and messages are tumbling down from the coaches' box as trainer Ruben Wiki exhorts fallen prop Charlie Gubb to get up from a head clash.
An hour earlier Gubb wretches in the dressing room just before the Warriors stride out into the sunlight at Penrose. It's not an uncommon reaction from sports stars and you wonder if he's ever delivered a chapter of intestinal violence when McFadden or captain Simon Mannering is making some point.
Four hours before kickoff, injured Warriors Manu Vatuvei, Konrad Hurrell and Ngani Laumape are sweating buckets on the cycle machines as trainer Brad Morris keeps them on task.
Upstairs from the high-tech gym which McFadden rates as good as any in the NRL, other staff are going through their plans and schedules as chief executive Jim Doyle wanders through welcomingly.
Entrance to the inner sanctum is rare but indicative of an inclusive attitude the club wants to foster.
Some spectators have arrived to get some serious value for their money as the reserve grade side, coached by club legend Stacey Jones, goes about their business. Then it's the under-20s before the main game - all on the same piece of turf.
Word comes through that the Storm doctor has not made the trip because of a family issue and they've asked if Simon, brother of Warriors doctor John Mayhew, and the club's under-20 medico can help out.
It's one of the items up for discussion in McFadden's office where the staff enjoy a coffee and chat about player rosters including who will be 18th man. Any piece of information is gold - the Facebook antics of trainer Dayne Norton's father, the arrival of Andrew Webster's girlfriend and Dr Mayhew's 60th birthday.
We head around the ground to check on the reserve grade action and under the main stand, run into Thomas Leuluai who is two weeks after knee surgery and feeling very buoyant about his recovery. The under-20s are about to begin their match while the seniors head for a pre-match meal.
When the players return, staff begin the strapping and physio while Mayhew administers other lotions and potions he and the players agree on.
Wounded Warrior Ryan Hoffman checks in for some discussion about the calf he damaged in the State of Origin III match during the week.
Discussion turns to the festering controversy about the Channel 9 60 Minutes interview which concentrated on edited footage shown to quadriplegic Knights player Alex McKinnon and his family, excluding any right of reply from Storm skipper Cameron Smith.
Hoffman was about a metre away from the incident and was upset later when requests he and others made to visit McKinnon in hospital were rebuffed. His sadness remains about the continuing jockeying for judgment.
Bodene Thompson is in early for some extensive strapping and helps Chad Townsend with a spare pair of inners.
Shaun Johnson gets his ankles and hands done. Lillyman has a lengthy rub down on his legs while Mannering is one of the last in for some treatment.
Most are edging into that concentrated quiet zone before the final team talk as McFadden stresses the need to pressure their midfield and Smith, especially when he looks to kick.
"Cronk is another indicator and it's all about how we shut him down. We've got to get up, and win the ground in the kill zone," he says.
"Get around the park, build your energy off your defence. It is our day where we are going to have to earn this because they won't go away. Stick with it, work to the corners and our halves will get it right with their decisions and executions.
"They think they can come to our house and wear us down but we can do that too. Let's go."
On the sideline, messages are coming down to Laurie Hale and Dan Floyd with Wiki, Norton, Hamish Craighead and Sarah Fanuatanu dealing to requests.
There's a no try for Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Nathan Friend is cut on the cheek and Mayhew consults a replay for any sign of concussion.
It's all clear before Tuimoala Lolohea scores the first of his two tries.
David Fusitu'a scores with a one-handed dive, then Thompson cuts back against the grain for another while Jonathan Wright saves three tries with a variety of defence.
The halftime lead is 16-0.
In the sheds, McFadden repeats his instructions about dealing with Smith to force the Storm to adjust as playmaker Johnson keeps his legs moving on the spin cycle. His work is flamboyantly loud but off the track he keeps much to himself.
"What's the formula, what's the blueprint for this half," says McFadden.
"We have got to start again, we have got to earn it again. Let's make our aim to kick to the corner and jam up on them. Let's put them under the hammer. They thought they were under the hammer that half but let's send it to another level."
The request goes pear-shaped. Gubb goes off with a head knock in between two Storm tries as the seams start to split on the Warriors' intentions.
Wiki is screaming about the need for the next try - and some sort of miracle play looks vital. It comes off a shaky last play kick. Friend climbs high and recycles acrobatically through his legs, Johnson flick passes behind his back and Lolohea snakes in at the corner.
"Air Johnson" in his 99th NRL game then cranks out two massive sidesteps to slice past two tacklers and then tags a late penalty. The result is secure and the excited ground announcer gives it to a Storm player who spills a drop out.
It's refreshing to hear Smith and Cronk bat away any Origin excuses for the Storm's performance and they are gracious about the Warriors' superiority which has pushed them up into the top four.
Once the Warriors file into the sheds McFadden is asking what they have learned. They know they are hurting themselves with errors but their plans are on the money.
"We have to take confidence that we played a really good team and we did it well with some pressure and we put them away. Let's take the learning out of that because we have got a big month of footy and we have to back up next week."
Congratulations are given to Ben Matulino and partner on the birth of their child the night before and Dr Mayhew for his milestone birthday as the team song breaks out.
McFadden and Mannering head off to the obligatory media interviews as players sortie to the showers, uniforms are collected for washing and the dressing room is cleaned.
Doyle explains how he had the breeze block walls remodelled to carry some of the club history and Vodafone sponsorship before this season.
An inscription runs around the room with all 201 who have started first grade with the font size of their name depicting their number of matches. It's another segment of Doyle's innovative approach to build the club on all angles.
"The game has to be inclusive. We want more followers, more partners to come with us.
"Everyone is important and we want to make as many connections as we can," he said.