Twas a winter of neither content nor discontent at Mt Smart Stadium. Like using milk that is just about to turn into a vanilla thickshake, the upfront promise is replaced by a slightly sour taste. Newbie coach Matt Elliott just about got away with it; a similar showing in 2014 will not be greeted so placidly.

Best performance: Roosters

The 50-16 defeat of Canberra and 56-18 win over the Broncos were exhilarating as they piled on the points, while their 18-16 defeat over Manly showed grit, but their 23-12 defeat of the Roosters was the most impressive. The Roosters were at home, had won six of their last seven and were at full strength, but they were beaten by a side who showed desperation on defence and patience on attack. The Warriors kept a powerful Roosters outfit scoreless in the second half and it was typified in Shaun Johnson's chase and catch of speedster Michael Jennings.

Worst performance: Panthers x 2


The double defeats to Penrith were some of the worst in the club's history. Their 6-62 capitulation in May was embarrassing and rightly drew widespread anger and frustration. It didn't help that some of the players were seen laughing and joking with the opposition afterwards. They struggled to complete sets, missed 37 tackles and looked like they didn't care.

The Warriors' 24-28 defeat at Mt Smart Stadium last month was disappointing for different reasons. They should have been highly motivated to perform because of what happened last time and because their playoffs chances depended on it. Instead, they let slip an early 10-0 lead and sprang into life only in the final few minutes as they realised they might actually lose.

Best player: Simon Mannering

Mannering was strangely off colour at the start of the season as he dropped balls and missed one or two tackles but it didn't last long. The measure of a top player is the ability to perform every week and the Warriors captain does that. If someone was making a try-saving tackle, it was invariably Mannering. In fact, he did more than his share of defending because he was needed to babysit the vulnerable right edge. Mannering even added more attacking thrust to his play with some clever offloads and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him pick up his third Warriors Player of the Year title.

Most improved player: Thomas Leuluai

It's not an award many liked winning as kids but it's hard to come up with a better category. Thomas Leuluai had his sceptics early in the season as he struggled to impose himself on games but he was well and truly delivering by the end. He's tough, clever and organised, and it has left many wondering whether it is actually a good idea to switch him to hooker next season with the impending arrival of Chad Townsend. Against Canberra recently he expertly summed up their weakness on the right edge and it resulted in Manu Vatuvei grabbing a hat-trick inside nine minutes.

Best quote

"Like your kid who you've told to wash up and make your bed, they are not going to do it every time. Your job as a parent is to stick by them, tell them you love them and tell them to make the bed properly."


Matt Elliott took a fatherly approach to his new charges early in the season. The Warriors had just been beaten 16-14 by the Roosters - their second straight defeat to open the season and 10th in a row dating back to 2012 - but Elliott was not ready to hand out a spanking.

Best moment

The game that spawned a catch-phrase. The Warriors were only a fortnight removed from the debacle in Penrith and, although they had bounced back to beat the Knights, belief among supporters must have been nearing an all-time low.

Except for one fan, who took along a home-made sign to Suncorp Stadium, a sign that undoubtedly inspired the Warriors to win seven of their next eight matches. "Lets Gone Warriors", the players surely saw on monitors as they went through their final preparations, and gone they did. The 56-18 thumping of Brisbane helped to restore shattered faith and sparked a run which for so long looked likely to result in a finals place.

Worst moment

Unfortunately, the famous win was overshadowed a wee bit by the actions of Russell Packer. The prop relieving himself on the Suncorp turf may not have been the heinous act many made it out to be, but it did detract from a feel-good story at a time when the club needed it most.

A far greater crime was committed after the drubbing against the Panthers when, rather than appearing as dejected as many fans felt, some players were pictured smiling and joking with the opposition.