It's always best to be wary about pre-season NRL trials. Coaches and teams always have specific agendas to work on – rather than just grinding out a result – and it's advisable not to get carried away about a performance, whether good or bad.
That's been the case with the Warriors in the past. The excitement that followed a 48-4 trial win over the Broncos in 2013 quickly dissipated when they dropped five of their first seven games and there are several other pertinent examples.
But Saturday's hit-out against the Titans, which ended in a 12-12 draw, felt important. It was the first bow for Nathan Brown and all seven new signings, after the significant personnel turnover in the off season.
It was also their only pre-season opportunity, after last week's trial against the Storm was canned due to travel restrictions.
Neither team would have wanted to reveal too much – especially as they face each other in the first round of the NRL season – but it was time for the latest edition of the Warriors to show something and it was promising enough.
They showed good line speed and energy and had some bright moments on attack, while their defence improved as the match progressed, with some great scrambling in the second half.
Both squads were rusty at times, with the Warriors also missing the organisation of half Chanel Harris-Tavita, out with a quad strain, and hampered by the loss of hooker Wayde Egan, who departed with a shoulder injury after just 15 minutes.
Hulking prop Addin Fonua-Blake provided good muscle up front, giving a snapshot of his ability to plough over the advantage line while Ben Murdoch-Masila made a 40-metre bust with his first touch after halftime, and the one-two punch provided by the twin towers could be something to savour, if they can also bring discipline in defence.
Probably the pick of the new boys was former Dragons centre Euan Aitken, who made several strong runs and showed a willingness to get involved, as well as defensive initiative.
Bunty Afoa and Leeson Ah Mau made welcome returns, after barely being sighted in 2020 due to injury. Second rower Bayley Sironen showed his versatility, switching to hooker in the second half.
The Titans had the best of the opening quarter, with two tries in the space of four minutes, to Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Jarrod Wallace. As he was for Queensland and the Storm last season, the powerful Fa'asuamaleaui was hard to handle through the middle.
Sean O'Sullivan and Nikorima combined well to send Josh Curran across in the 29th minute and the Warriors should have further extended their lead before halftime, unable to take advantage of four consecutive sets on the Titans line.
The Warriors were sharper after halftime and a snappy Roger Tuivasa-Sheck break sent Jazz Tevaga under the posts just before the hour mark.
It showed what is possible when Tuivasa-Sheck gets the ball on the front foot, which is the hope for 2021.
Brown emptied his bench for the final 20 minutes, with several youngsters getting some game time. A great defensive play from Peta Hiku stopped a certain try from ex-teammate Patrick Herbert, while the Warriors did extremely well to withstand sustained pressure in the final 10 minutes.
Warriors 12 (J Curran, J Tevaga tries; K Nikorima 2 goals)
Titans 12 (T Fa'asuamaleaui, J Wallace tries; J Fogarty 2 goals)