The Warriors emerged as gallant losers as their NRL campaign found new heart against the champion Roosters in a muddling game on the Central Coast.
The Roosters, with three days extra rest, dominated the second half to win 18-10 but only made the game safe in the final 10 minutes.
A battle between Warriors loan forward Jack Hetherington and the Roosters' Kiwi prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves made for a lively finish.
It was Waerea-Hargreaves who had the last laugh, a big charge setting up the 70th minute try to fellow Kiwi Joseph Manu which saw the Roosters to safety.
But they were pressed hard all the way by the Warriors, who were paying around $10 for a win during the week.
With giant wings David Fusitu'a and Ken Maumalo now heading home, alongside unused forwards Agnatius Paasi and King Vuniyayawa, the Warriors needed to show their spirit was still good.
Mission accomplished on that score, and the Warriors were still defending stoutly to the end, even though their attack had evaporated on tired legs and they largely played like a side with no chance of making the top eight.
In a key ruling around the 50-minute mark, the Warriors challenge against a stripping call on Peta Hiku failed. Moments later, Roosters playmaker Luke Keary collected his own grubber kick off a deflection and scored to give his side a 12-10 lead.
And they turned the screws from then on, squashing any hope of a shock Warriors win with Keary taking charge.
Keary described it as a "weird first half".
"In the end we got the job done," he said.
All in all though, given their patchy form and a shocker against the Sharks last week, Warriors coach Todd Payten should be heartened.
The Warriors went into the game on the great news that Eels prop Daniel Alvaro and wing George Jennings would be joining them on loan, and that the NRL was stepping in to encourage other clubs to send them more troops.
And with Roosters co-captain Boyd Cordner ruled out of the game, after taking a training ground head knock, there was a slight mood swing in the underdogs' favour.
The Warriors opened superbly with second rower Eliesa Katoa winning a tap back from a Blake Green bomb to set up Maumalo for a try.
The Roosters - who have been hit hard by injuries to key forwards - clawed their way back into what was a scrappy first half, but without the execution associated with the champions at their best.
Indeed, they were bombing tries the way the Warriors often do, and were also denied by a stunning Tohu Harris tryline tackle on a charging Sitili Tupouniua.
The Warriors would have been delighted with their defensive attitude as the Roosters dominated territory. And the champions needed some excellent defensive efforts from their backs to clean up a couple of dangerous situations.
The Roosters levelled at six when Fusitu'a lost an aerial battle over a Keary bomb, with Tupouniua scooping up the opportunity.
But on a rare attacking raid just before halftime, the Warriors hit the lead again when Nikorima fed Katoa with a short pass near the line and the outstanding rookie barged over in a double tackle.
Roosters 18 (S. Tupouniua, L, Keary, J. Manu tries; K. Flanagan 3 goals)
Warriors 10 (K. Maumalo, E. Katoa tries; A. Pompey goal).