To reach the NRL playoffs, the Warriors will have to make history - and maybe bring back the beards.

Based on previous seasons, it's likely the Auckland club, who face the Gold Coast Titans this evening in Robina, will have to win seven of their last 11 games.

It's a tough ask. They haven't managed that kind of win ratio in the post-Ivan Cleary years, where they have averaged just four wins over the corresponding period.

They will also need to string together a series of consecutive wins, something that has been a rare feat in recent years.


Given the season so far, where the team have managed to record back-to-back victories only once, it's seems unlikely. But there are some reasons for hope.

In 2007, 2010 and 2011, the Warriors put together big late season runs to make the finals, as everything came together in the second phase of the campaign. But the most famous example was in 2008, when the team recovered from a near impossible position to reach the finals.

Things had looked hopeless when they lost seven of nine matches between April and June before starting a stirring run, dropping only three of their last 11 games to finish eighth.

That series was accompanied by the team all growing beards, as part of a tribute to the retiring Ruben Wiki in his last season.

"Maybe we should grow beards again," veteran Simon Mannering said with a laugh yesterday.

"But to be honest, it's about building consistency in our game. We have got no problem getting a performance together when we need to.

"We have done that plenty of times over the last three or four years when our backs are against the wall. But once we get a performance together, it is about backing that up. If I knew the answer, we would have sorted it by now."

Mannering has unfortunately become symbolic of the team's struggles. Over his 269-game NRL career, through many ups and downs, he has generally maintained the highest standards of professionalism and performance, but many of his teammates, both senior and junior, have struggled to reach the same levels.


The 30-year-old would never complain but deep down, it must be intensely frustrating.

"It's such a hard comp and getting harder every year," Mannering said.

"You see with Melbourne, between their good and bad game they find a way to win because they come up with the plays when it matters. That is where you have to get too."

Mannering is still hopeful though, recalling the deeds of years past when the Warriors progressed from outsiders to contenders across a few roller-coaster months.

"When you get one or two good performances, it becomes standard, the stuff you need to do in a game and what it takes," said Mannering.

"Like with Penrith ... they were struggling really badly and then they get a couple of wins. You get that extra belief and confidence and then you do it again and it becomes habitual."


The Warriors have a strong record against the Titans, having won 12 of the previous 13 clashes, including six consecutive wins on the Gold Coast.