The Warriors remain in the thick of the NRL finals race but make or break time looms as they prepare for their final eight games of the regular season.
The Auckland-based side find themselves in familiar territory ahead of the home stretch, as they currently sit 10th on the premiership ladder on 16 competition points and four outside the top eight, ahead of this weekend's second bye round.
After recovering from disastrous defeats to Penrith and St George Illawarra in mid-May, the Warriors have enjoyed their traditional rise in form throughout the State of Origin period, winning three of their past five games against the Broncos, Titans and Bulldogs.
However, doubts remain over their ability to match it with the best sides following last week's 26-22 defeat to Manly in Perth, and they need at least five more wins if they are to hit the all-important 28-point mark to put them in contention to clinch a finals berth for the first time since 2011.
Even then, with both Penrith (ninth) and South Sydney (11th) also on 16 points, for-and-against and points differential could prove critical, and a sixth win would be invaluable to their playoff prospects.
It's certainly within their ability to extend their season beyond the first week of September, but they'll need to show greater belief and consistency than they have so far throughout yet another unconvincing campaign, that's seen them win just seven of 16 matches.
With four home games remaining at Mt Smart Stadium - where they have won six of seven - the Warriors are capable of overcoming a similarly unpredictable Panthers side and a Raiders team on the slide, and will hope to score at least one upset victory against either reigning premiers Cronulla or the Sea Eagles.
But with only one away win this season, the Warriors are sure to be tested on the road by the sixth-placed Cowboys, and three teams beneath them in last-placed Newcastle, South Sydney and 15th-placed Wests Tigers.
Aiding their cause is the fact the Cowboys will be without injured captain Johnathan Thurston, but although the Warriors should account for the Knights, the improving Rabbitohs are sure to be desperate and a round 26 trip to Leichhardt Oval will be tougher than the Tigers' lowly status suggests.
Injuries to forward pair Ryan Hoffman (foot) and Albert Vete (broken arm) will test the Warriors depth while concerns remain over the fitness of five-eighth Kieran Foran (quad), first-choice hooker Issac Luke (shoulder) and back-up No9 Nathaniel Roache (hamstring).
Front-rower Sam Lisone appears likely to replace Vete, while centre Solomone Kata is also expected to be available for next week's game against Penrith, after returning from bereavement leave following the recent passing of his brother in Tonga.
The run home
Round 18: Bye.
Round 19: v Panthers (9th) at Mt Smart Stadium, Friday, July 14.
Round 20: v Cowboys (6th) in Townsville, Saturday, July 22.
Round 21: v Sharks (2nd) at Mt Smart Stadium, Friday, July 28.
Round 22: v Knights (16th) in Newcastle, Saturday, August 5.
Round 23: v Raiders (12th) at Mt Smart Stadium, Sunday, August 13.
Round 24: v Rabbitohs (11th) in Sydney, Friday, August 18.
Round 25: v Sea Eagles (3rd) at Mt Smart Stadium, Sunday, August 27.
Round 26: v Wests Tigers (15th) in Sydney, Sunday, September 3.