When respected rugby league commentator Andrew Voss predicted, pre-season, to Radio Sport that the Warriors would finish fourth in the NRL this year, I thought: "Good luck, Mr Gorski".
Those unfamiliar with the saying should know it was supposedly uttered by astronaut Neil Armstrong not long after his "one small step…one giant leap" statement on the moon.
It referred to a conversation between his neighbours, the Gorskis, Armstrong allegedly overheard as a child. Mr Gorski asked Mrs Gorski for a particular kind of sexual favour. "When the kid next door walks on the moon," came the acid response. When Armstrong did, legend has it he wished Mr Gorski "good luck".
Fourth? No Shaun Johnson and maybe more to the point, no Simon Mannering and that security he brought to the team by making – oh, I don't know – a gazillion tackles a season?
Against the Titans on Friday night, the Warriors at least improved the defensive frailties exhibited against Manly and the West Tigers when they shipped 80 points in two games. They showed some much-needed guts against a bigger forward pack and some even more necessary efficiency.
The Titans were anything but titanic – unless you use that word in the context of sinking after hitting an iceberg. They arrived at Mt Smart at the bottom of the NRL ladder and left confirmed as the team that deserves to be there.
Their defence was ordinary and their offence really raised eyebrows. They couldn't finish. They had the Warriors under a bit of pressure three or four times in the first half but simply couldn't apply the killer blow.
Some last-tackle plays were lame – they passed over the touchline once, made numerous basic errors when pressing and their kicking game was largely toothless. Though much was made of the Titans' halves of Ash Taylor and Tyrone Roberts being together for the first time this season, they didn't spark much until a mini-revival when the Warriors were up 20-0 and the game essentially decided – at which point the home team switched off.
Still, a Warriors win was good after two such alarming defeats and the sight of coach Stephen Kearney fronting up afterwards for comment, looking like a resident of Pompeii asked to come up with something funny to say about lava.
The Titans were so average you can't really judge whether the Warriors are indeed back on track. Stiffer tests await – they have the Rabbitohs and the Storm with the Cowboys sandwiched in between in their next three matches. The home match against the Cowboys already shapes as a must-win.
Most other folk seem to have moved on but it's still strange watching the Warriors without Johnson. How club management and coaching staff contrived to let him go without an effective replacement ready or planned is a matter of some wonder.
Yes, star players leave – the Warriors never really replaced James Maloney – but generally speaking such things are managed with a viable alternative in hand. Let's face it, the Warriors had shown few signs of winning the NRL with the highly talented but inconsistent Johnson and they are showing few signs of winning it now.
Still, there will be some dark looks directed from Mt Smart towards the Shire if the Cronulla Sharks make the top four this year, with their ex-Warriors halves pairing of Johnson and Chad Townsend. It never looks good when the export does the business for the new owners.
So far, Johnson has been a bit of a mixed bag for the Sharks but he is now surrounded by much more consistency himself than the Warriors were able to give him.
The Warriors did introduce their next hope in the halves, Chanel Harris-Tevita, to the realities of first grade. As an aside, Harris-Tevita's parents obviously did not suffer from giving their baby boy a colourful name – something lamented by the mother of recently departed British actor Albert Finney (anyone under 30, ask your parents…), who said: "If we'd known he was going to be an actor, we'd have given him a fancier name."
They don't come much fancier than Chanel, but sensibly, he didn't try to do too much fancy stuff – showing enough to get hopes up.
Blake Green ran the show and did most of the kicking from hand but Harris-Tevita showed a cool goalkicking head, threw one fizzing flat pass that should have led to a try, his support play was good as were a couple of dabs at the defensive line with the ball in hand.
It was enough to see the talent within. He's a little bloke and he will come under a lot more pressure than this – though this was a must-win match and his goalkicking seemed to signal he has the ability to withstand same.
There were other good signs from the Warriors – Tohu Harris and David Fusitua woke from slumbers, Peta Hiku played well and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck showed how bereft this Warriors outfit will be if he is injured and if Green is hurt at the same time.
Stranger things have happened than this particular Warriors outfit doing well – Charlie Chaplin once entered a Charlie Chaplin look-alike competition in France when he was older and without his trademark moustache and hat. He came third.
But fourth in the NRL? Good luck, Mr Gorski.