This season was a huge missed opportunity for the Warriors - that may not come again for the next few years.

That is the most awkward fact to contemplate, as the club undertakes its season review.

It's okay to wonder what might have been, but the nature of the NRL means you have to take your opportunities when they arise.

That's what the Titans have done this year in slipping into the finals, and what other middleweight sides like the Dragons (2015), Penrith (2014), Newcastle (2013) and Canberra (2012) managed.


This was a year when all the stars had aligned for the Auckland team to make the finals, and yet they still managed to miss out.

Firstly, it was season of upheaval by NRL standards. Traditional powerhouses like the Rabbitohs and the Roosters fell away badly, after being regulars in the top four over the last few years.

And the Sea Eagles continued their decline in 2016, after missing the finals for the first time in a decade the year before. Plus the Eels, who looked like top six contenders for most of the season, were docked 12 points for their salary cap infringements.

It meant that the Warriors were dueling with the Titans and the Tigers for a top eight spot. Say it again...the Titans and the Tigers! The West Sydney club were touted as wooden spoon contenders at the start of the season, and the Gold Coast team didn't feature in any pundit's lists of contenders.

The Warriors also had a friendly draw. The Auckland club had only ten matches across the Tasman - the least they have had in years. It meant there were 14 games in New Zealand, but they couldn't take advantage of the `bonus' home matches.

And the club had a relatively good run with injuries. Aside from Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who was a massive loss, the Warriors arrived in the final phase of the season with a fairly healthy squad, able to pick from most of their top line contenders.

Looking ahead to 2017, the goal of reaching the finals will be harder than ever. Of the current top eight, only the Titans and possibly the Bulldogs might drop away next year. But the Roosters, Rabbitohs and Eels will be lining up to replace them and there is surely further improvement in the Tigers and Sea Eagles.

So where does that leave the Warriors?