For the best part of the last two decades, the Warriors fandom have thrived on three words: Keep the Faith.

Supporters of the team hold strong in that motto 17 years after it came to our screens by way of a gospel choir marching through Auckland's Myers Park, but in the media it had grown stale.

In 2018, it seemed enough was enough. No longer would this franchise who hadn't made the playoffs since 2011 be talked up as a top tier contender.

The Daily Telegraph's Phil "Buzz" Rothfield tipped the Kiwi side to collect the wooden spoon. Parramatta Eels legend Peter Sterling had them finishing toward the bottom of the ladder. Closer to home, three Herald writers gave their tips for the top eight at the start of the season - only one featured the Warriors, who would "sneak into the eight".


Going into the season under the radar for the first season in a long time, the Warriors have flourished. The faith remained high in the squad, with new recruits Tohu Harris, Blake Green and Adam Blair instrumental in steering the ship. With three games remaining in their regular season, there's a good chance finals footy could return to Mt Smart Stadium this year.

Blake Green has been a stellar addition to the Warriors squad this season. Photo / Photosport
Blake Green has been a stellar addition to the Warriors squad this season. Photo / Photosport

The Warriors sit two points outside the top four, with two of their final three games against bottom eight teams.

There's been no talk of "bro-culture" and no one has been reaching for excuses to justify or explain why the team haven't been able to reach their potential.

In their win over the Newcastle Knights on Friday night, the Warriors lifted themselves off the bubble in eighth-place. Now, having hit that magic 28-points mark that historically sees a team progress to the post-season, the Warriors still have room to move.

The deciding fixture in their bid for a top four spot could be their clash against the Penrith Panthers at home in two weeks time. The Panthers are currently fourth on the ladder, but have been lacking in form recently with the clubroom in disarray following the late-season release of coach Anthony Griffin.

The Panthers have been getting the results, but in the past two weeks they've taken on bottom eight teams and both times needed to produce some late magic to get the result. The Warriors on the other hand have been rolling in the past fortnight. They've taken a 18-12 win over the fifth-placed Dragons, and comfortably handled the 11th-placed Knights.

Mt Smart Stadium hasn't hosted an NRL finals game since 2007, when the Warriors were beaten 12-10 by the Parramatta Eels. Winger Todd Byrne scored the opening try that day - remember him? - and Michael Witt was awarded a penalty try, but they were negated by tries to Jarryd Hayne and Feleti Mateo - who would later front for the Warriors in the 2011 Grand Final - but one more successful nudge from the boot of Krisnan Inu tipped the Eels home.

Could Auckland finally see a return of finals footy this year? Keep the faith.