If the biggest lessons come from defeats, then the Warriors learned plenty on Wednesday night.
While the Storm were absolutely brilliant – with the Premiers giving their best performance of the year in the 50-10 hiding – the visitors were way, way short of the mark.
The remarkable sight of Cameron Smith invoking the mercy rule two minutes before halftime – when he elected to take a penalty shot in front of the posts with his team 36-0 ahead – showed the sportsmanship of the Kangaroos and Queensland captain, as he didn't want to embarrass the Warriors any further.
Stephen Kearney's men at least gained some respectability after halftime, but it was the first half train wreck that will cause a few concerns around Mt Smart HQ over the next few days.
Not many expected the Warriors to win last night – especially with some of their key forwards absent – but competing well was a bare minimum.
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That didn't happen in the first half. It was possums in the headlights stuff, reminiscent of the bad old days. Nothing went their way – as the Storm monopolised possession and territory – but the Warriors were guilty of leaving their energy, fire and brimstone back in New Zealand. They were flat – maybe overawed by the occasion, which included a long pre-match ceremony.
Midway through the first half the Storm scored four unanswered tries in a 10-minute spell, in a brutal exhibition of league. It made you yearn for the days of Rupert Murdoch's Super League in 1997, when the rebel competition adjusted the rules, so that the team that had just been scored on received the ball from the following kickoff.
There was no such luck on Wednesday, and at one point in the first half it seemed feasible that the Warriors could play the whole match without touching the ball.
The Warriors' forwards were badly outpointed, missing the momentum and impact provided by Tohu Harris, Leivaha Pulu and James Gavet.
And across the team, they were found wanting when not in possession. Their defensive line looked disconnected, and they constantly missed one on one tackles, guilty of ineffective grabs. They also lacked cohesion in attack; no crispness in the passing, the running lines were off and they couldn't get any second phase play.
In Melbourne the Warriors learned the hard way, about professional standards, desire and expectation. The Storm are masters of week-to-week consistency – while the Warriors are still discovering just what that means.
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