The optimism around the Warriors has been torpedoed after they were embarrassed 32-0 by the Sydney Roosters tonight.
The humiliation saw the home side fail to fire a shot in front of 14,095 expectant home fans in the Indigenous Round clash.
First-half tries to forward Ryan Matterson and Hamilton-born left wing Joseph Manu helped the Roosters to a 14-0 lead, and they added three more in the second half to right wing Blake Ferguson, fullback James Tedesco, and forward Isaac Liu, with centre Lattrell Mitchell finishing adding six goals.
The Warriors' strong season start has given way to inconsistency with three defeats in their past five matches all marked by their inability to match the opposition's intensity and enthusiasm.
Without playmakers Shaun Johnson and Issac Luke, the under-strength Warriors lacked spark on attack and energy on defence, against a Roosters outfit hell-bent on revenge after going down 30-6 at home when the two sides met in round four.
Fill-in hooker Karl Lawton was kept quiet and backup halfback Mason Lino was given little room to move before departing in the 67th minute with what could be a high ankle sprain — leaving him in doubt for next Friday's away clash against Parramatta.
"We got beaten in the physical challenge," said coach Stephen Kearney. "We spoke about that after the Broncos [defeat] here about a month ago.
"We fought our way back into the contest early in the second half but the Roosters had a bit of momentum early and were certainly putting some physical pressure on us. We got some opportunities with penalties but we just hurt ourselves with some errors out of the back field. That put pressure on ourselves and in that sense it was hurtful and pretty disappointing."
The Roosters' forward pack came ready for business with front rowers Dylan Napa and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, eager to impress in front of new Kiwis coach Michael Maguire.
Napa made it his mission to go hunting for his opposite Agnatius Paasi, before the Warriors prop was forced off briefly after clashing heads with the Queensland forward, who was placed on report after a melee in the final minutes.
"We spoke about how the Roosters were going to try to run through us and play with more physicality, we accepted the challenge but too many errors cost us," said Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
Ill-discipline was also an issue for the home side with the Roosters opening the scoring with a Mitchell penalty goal after 18 minutes, before a knock-on presented the chance for Matterson to cross for the first try.
Tuivasa-Sheck tried to lift his side but the Roosters held their line before Manu scored their second just before the break.
Another error from the second-half re-start preceded Ferguson claiming their third try, and Tedesco scored in his 100th NRL match to seal the result.
Disappointed punters were already heading for the exit when Mitchell booted his second penalty with 12 minutes remaining. They would be grateful to have missed Liu crossing in the dying stages, when frustrations boiled over with Waerea-Hargreaves sinbinned after clashing with Adam Blair.
Roosters 32 (Ryan Matterson, Joseph Manu, Blake Ferguson, James Tedesco, Isaac Liu tries, Lattrell Mitchell 4 cons, 2 pens)