The Warriors' NRL season has been a circus.
Week after week the club seems to find a way to bring in a new attraction for the league world to marvel at.
Relocating twice; sacking their coach with no succession plan in place; publicly announcing certain players had been told they aren't wanted anymore (then subsequently being unhappy when one of those players leaves the club to take up an offer elsewhere); borrowing players and sending others home at their request; being knocked back by their first choice for the vacant head coaching role.
It's all a rich tapestry.
Yet despite all the noise surrounding them, the Warriors continue to ride the ever-revolving Ferris wheel that is the NRL playoff picture.
There's the deserving top five. The Penrith Panthers who have lost just once, the Melbourne Storm who are in the top-four mix season after season, the Parramatta Eels, who are yet to be beaten at home, and 2019 grand final rivals the Sydney Roosters and Canberra Raiders.
But outside of that, anything could happen over the next eight weeks.
Through 12 rounds, the Warriors sit four points outside the playoff spots. However, if they want to prove they belong with the top eight, their run home gives them the chance to do just that.
Only three of their last eight games are against teams outside of the top eight. On Friday night they take on the Manly Sea Eagles (ninth) who they meet again in round 20, and they face the last-placed Canterbury Bulldogs in round 15. The Bulldogs have struggled all season, while Manly have looked far from their best over the past month – with two losses by 30 points in that stretch.
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Of teams in the top eight, the Warriors meet the Panthers (1), Eels (3), Raiders (5), Cronulla Sharks (6) and Newcastle Knights (7).
Looking at the Warriors' current form, they should at least test all of these teams.
Some heavy defeats earlier in the season – including losses by 44 and 36 points - have blown out their point differential to –135. But in the past fortnight, the Warriors have a better point differential than seven other teams and conceded fewer points than eight teams – three of those being in the top eight. During that time that Warriors have had a tough schedule, holding the high-flying Roosters to 18 points before beating the Wests Tigers, who have been in and out of the top eight throughout the year.
There's no reason the Warriors can't sustain the level of play they've shown in recent weeks for the remainder of the competition. They finally appear to have a set lineup, which should remain untouched so long as the loan players are in Warriors colours. They lose some leadership with Blake Green joining the Newcastle Knights, but Chanel Harris-Tavita now has the opportunity to make his mark with the team and is well-suited to the high-paced tempo of the game.
The Warriors should welcome their strength of schedule over the rest of the season. Not only do they have the chance to earn valuable points, but they are also in a position to take points off their rivals for the much sought-after spots in the playoffs.
Sitting two wins back from the top eight, they definitely have some work ahead of them. But for all the chaos surrounding the team this year, a strong schedule is exactly what the playing group needs to remain focused on the task at hand and not worry about things out of their control.