For a team that had just slumped to a fourth-straight defeat, the Warriors were surprisingly chipper yesterday.

Rather than dwell on the team's increasingly precarious ladder position, coach Ivan Cleary and captain Simon Mannering adopted a cup half full approach - maybe even three-quarters full. With a bye to be followed by consecutive Friday night visits by a dreadful Gold Coast team and the erratic Bulldogs, the light at the end of a fairly dim tunnel may well be approaching.

Coach and captain pointed to the solid foundation laid against the NRL's leading club and a vastly improved edge defence.

They could also have added that their side played just about all the football, frequently shredded the Storm defence thanks to a master class from Feleti Mateo, and could well have won the game but for a horrible piece of refereeing from Brett Suttor.

Cleary did, in fact, offer his view of Suttor's ruling that Shaun Berrigan was held when he offloaded with the Warriors two points down and charging hard deep inside Storm territory with seven minutes remaining.

"I thought it was a terrible decision," Cleary said. "In the context of the game it was a massive call. I guess that is what happens, when you are winning - you get the calls and when you aren't - you get that."

True enough. But Suttor didn't drop the ball three times on the first tackle and once from a kick-off. He didn't spill a Cooper Cronk bomb to hand the Storm the match at the death, and didn't fail to even lay a hand on another towering Cronk hoof in the opening minutes to gift the Storm a lead they would never relinquish.

That, unfortunately, was the doing of Lance Hohaia, a player whose persistent struggles at fullback this season are threatening to overshadow what should be a fine legacy when he departs at the end of the season after 10 years of service.

Hohaia partly squared the ledger by scoring his team's only try midway through the second half, and he was hardly alone in coughing up crucial errors. Recalled halfback Brett Seymour, who ended the match with a suspected broken thumb, certainly had an afternoon to forget.

The Warriors coughed up so much ball they made 77 more tackles than the Storm in the first half. That is a recipe for failure against most teams. Against the Storm it is a death sentence.

The Storm didn't do anything special. More accurately, they didn't do much of anything, except complete their sets - 37 out of 40 for the match - scramble hard on defence and wait for the Warriors to implode.

"You look at the result so far this season and the team that holds on to the ball the best usually comes out on top," Storm captain Cameron Smith said.

"I guess that reflects that grinding style of football that we play. A lot of people think it's unattractive or boring but it gets you results and that is what we are after."

While the Storm won't be changing their formula any time soon, the Warriors appear to be at a crossroads. Against the Cowboys last week, Cleary sent out a team packed with speed that could score from anywhere but struggled to control the game and defend when it mattered.

Yesterday's reshuffled line-up was structurally and defensively sound but lacked the ability to finish the breaks created by the mesmerising Mateo.

"I'm not sure if it was speed or just a lack of people around when we made the breaks, which is a bit of a concern," Cleary said. "That fact that you make 90-odd more tackles than the opposition takes a bit of petrol out of you as well.

"I couldn't fault the guys' effort. It was a really strong 80-minute effort out there. If we get back to putting that sort of effort in each week and do it on a consistent basis then you'll see a few less errors."

Mannering was proud of a team that appeared to be finding its way back after losing the plot against the Tigers and Cowboys.

"We definitely moved forward," he said. "I was proud of the way we hung in there. That is a good foundation to build on."