After a promising start, with two wins from their first three games, the Warriors' 2021 season descended badly, another campaign of disappointment and missed opportunities. Michael Burgess analyses the key questions.
Is Nathan Brown the right man for the job?
The jury is still out. His job is safe and the owners will give him at least one more season, having thrown so many resources behind him.
But he has a lot to prove, after an extremely disappointing campaign.
Injuries were a factor, especially Addin Fonua-Blake, Chad Townsend and Tohu Harris, but he still had a decent roster, but only managed eight wins from 24 games.
Brown is open, approachable, good with the media and seems to have a strong feel for the unique aspects of the club.
It wouldn't have been easy running the Warriors' ship in 2021, with the split pre-seasons, the constant uncertainty and relocations, as well as several curveballs, like the loss of Josh Curran and Euan Aitken after potential Covid contact and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's untimely exit.
But as a selector, he never seemed to settle on his best line up, even allowing for injuries.
There was constant change and that inconsistency of selection surely didn't help consistency on the field.
Above all, Brown couldn't get the best out of his players, often enough, which is the primary role of a coach.
What about his coaching staff?
Assistants Craig Hodges and Justin Morgan will be under the microscope.
Hodges oversaw an attack that often misfired, as execution was an issue for much of the year. At times they were sharp, through the middle and out wide, but too often basic skills and decision making let them down.
Morgan (defence coach) will have a lot to ponder. The Warriors were extremely resilient at times but could be porous through the middle and on the edges.
The new rules were a factor, as the game has descended into touch football at times, but the total tries (112) and points conceded (622) were the club's worst since the chaotic season of 2004.
How bad was this campaign?
Firstly, there are some caveats.
If the team played 12 games at Mt Smart in 2021, they would surely have had a different record. So comparisons with previous campaigns are difficult, but Andrew McFadden was sacked in 2016 after achieving 10 wins, including four over top eight teams.
The statistics aren't great, especially the 5-13 record after 18 games, before the late resurgence, while the negative points differential (-181) is the worst since 2009.
Last season was more turbulent, with loan players and relocations, but interim coach Todd Payten managed a 40 per cent win record (8/20) compared to 33 per cent this year.
This was a particularly lop-sided season, with the top six well ahead of the rest. There were several clubs rebuilding or in disarray, but the Warriors couldn't escape the poor peloton around them.
What is the biggest issue?
Accountability. Standards are still not high enough, and too many players haven't performed to their potential. Unheralded wing Marcelo Montoya set the bar with his attitude and commitment, but few others matched that level.
It's been a perfect storm, with some senior men not shaping up and not enough young ones able to take the next step. Only a handful of players have improved their games this season.
In terms of other issues, game management and settling on a defined style of play aren't far behind.
What about leadership?
There's been a definite vacuum, with Tuivasa-Sheck's departure and the absence of Harris. Several of the new men aren't natural leaders and the likes of Jazz Tevaga, who has been in the leadership group before, was in and out of the team.
Is there any hope for the future?
Of course – it's the Warriors – so there always is.
Shaun Johnson won't be a silver bullet, though he will make a considerable difference next season, if he stays healthy.
The back three is solid, and Reece Walsh in particular will benefit enormously from a proper pre-season.
Addin Fonua-Blake has proved a fantastic recruit and Aaron Pene will add to a decent prop rotation, while Josh Curran and Wayde Egan can build on decent campaigns.
But the mountain is steep.