Five giant steps forward, and now one back.
Just as there was no reason to get too carried away with the Warriors' streak to start the season — although it was hard not to — there's no need to start fretting after the 27-18 loss to the Broncos last night.
It was a disappointment, especially in the fact they got out-enthused at home, which shouldn't happen in the NRL.
Defeats happen, but the Warriors lacked passion, commitment and desire, factors that had been so impressive across the first five weeks.
Maybe the emotional highs of the last month or so had sapped their energy. Maybe some complacency had crept in, with some members of the team forgetting that every victory in the NRL has to be earned. Or maybe — as Blake Green pointed out — they had been unable to build momentum from the start, after being fast out of the blocks in each previous week, and found no way to turn it around.
There will certainly be issues to pick over in today's review. Some of the tackling brought back bad memories of previous seasons, and unforced errors came back into the Warriors repertoire. The Broncos hunted as a pack, while the Warriors were too often lone wolves. The kick chase was comparatively poor, the attack lacked zip and decision making was a bit off.
In contrast, the Broncos, with their simple game plan, were almost perfect, with 100 per cent completion in the first half.
Despite that, the Warriors were in the game to the end, with Shaun Johnson's 70th minute try giving hope of a comeback. The team's response to the defeat was also a positive, with glum faces abounding as the squad wandered out of the dressing room.
The Warriors have overachieved across the first quarter of the season, but their campaign may be defined by the next six games, with St George (home), Melbourne (away), Roosters (h), Tigers (h), Eels (a) and Rabbitohs (h). It's an intimidating run but at least the Warriors have a solid foundation to build on, unlike recent years.
A litmus test of progress will come next Friday against the unbeaten Dragons. Most of the Auckland team were below par last night, and that surely can't happen again
For his part coach Stephen Kearney was adamant his team will bounce back.
"That's my responsibility," said Kearney.
"We have worked really hard to put ourselves in this position and we will respond how we have responded every week thus far, by preparing well to play well."