If the Warriors are going to make a significant jump under Nathan Brown, it will be more evolution than revolution.
That much became clear from Friday's 20-16 loss to the Newcastle Knights in Gosford.
After impressing with their commitment, focus and enthusiasm against the Gold Coast Titans last week, they couldn't quite match those levels against the Knights.
It was another reminder of the intensity and unforgiving nature of the NRL, as little moments let them down, with the miscued opening kick-off (out on the full) an early sign of scratchiness.
The Warriors have often struggled for consistency at the start of the campaign. They've won their first two matches of a season only three times.
The game was there for the taking – and the Warriors retrieved an eight-point deficit to lead 16-14 with six minutes to play – before Bradman Best slipped through to create the match-winning try.
The Knights are tough customers, but these are the kind of matches the club needs to win, especially with the Raiders and Roosters coming in the next two weeks.
Brown was disappointed but philosophical after the match, pointing to the challenge of integrating so many new players.
"I thought we did well working our way back to get to the front but we weren't quite good enough to get the job done," said Brown. "We are still learning about each other, but the guys should get some belief that there is a footy team in there somewhere - we just have a bit of work to do on combinations.
"The Knights are a top eight [team] and their squad's improved on last year. We went three tries-all with them [so] we've got a fair bit of upside - we're all new to each other."
Though focus will fall on the dramatic finale, Brown was rueing the start of the match, as the Warriors failed to capitalise on a significant territorial advantage with the Knights defusing numerous goal-line sets.
"We got the first 30 minutes wrong – we didn't quite get to the right areas early on."
The Warriors were also out-enthused, especially in the first half.
"They were just a bit keener to the punch than we were," said Brown. "Last week I think we got every loose ball, [but] their first try come off Tyson's [Frizell's] loose ball, and then the try at the end of the game where they got the ball back from the kick. The ball bounced and the Knights got it, we didn't. In those small areas, [particularly] in the first half they were a little better than us."
After impressing last week, halves Kodi Nikorima and Chanel Harris-Tavita had mixed nights. They kicked well but struggled to structure the attack, while Nikorima's running game was well contained by the Knights.
"We've asked them to do different things in their game and that's all about learning," said Brown. "In the first 30 minutes they could have done some things a little better. That's learning for them and unfortunately sometimes you lose to learn."
Harris-Tavita is still green (28 NRL games) and the duo are a new partnership, since the departure of Blake Green last August.
"I've got no doubt [Chanel's] going to become a good player for us," said Brown "He's a great learner, he really works hard on his game. I'm very comfortable they'll develop a great combination, it just takes a bit of time sometimes."
Jazz Tevaga (kneeing) and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown (crusher tackle) were placed on report, though Brown felt there wasn't "a great deal in it". Prop Addin Fonua-Blake had suffered a cork to his calf, which isn't expected to be a serious injury.