For as long as they've played the ball, league has trailed rugby in the national sports charts.
The Warriors have not helped bridge that distance as erratic results continue to plague their time in the NRL while Super teams and the All Blacks continue to crest the charts in the rugby world.
Each season begins with optimistic views from the loyal Warriors clan and that will be no different when they suit up for the 2018 season.
In the interlude, league has pushed their World Cup into the frame to challenge the All Blacks and their Maori counterparts for attention as they head away to compete in Europe.
At the end of a long season, the All Blacks are taking 1001 players to negotiate three tests and two other games while the league squads were adjusted in the wake of the player exodus to the Tongan team.
That was sloppy but within the rules and has added further spice to the fierce combat sport.
Like rugby, league has made gains from its television coverage, improved grounds and tinkering with the rules to benefit players and spectators.
We rugby folk good naturedly poke fun at the five-tackle-kick, fibro footy or state house rugby gig but league can be just as compelling.
Certainly it televises better and broadcasts begin tonight with Australia and England before Kiwi eyes turn to tomorrow's start against Samoa at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.
Anyone with a broad sporting interest and some spare time, should be keen to see how the Kiwis fare and what shape coach David Kidwell and his assistants have put into their team.
No doubt they were stunned by the defection of a group led by the high-class Jason Taumalolo and they have had further coaching interruptions.
Those left won't lack for motivation and their skills, defence and tactical strategy will be up for inspection.
Samoa will come at them down the middle of the park with their big men looking to break the line, make offloads or play the ball quickly.
The Kiwi methods need to be more diverse but more importantly they need to have a strong clear plan to gain an opening victory.
There are no bonus points for showing all the artillery, no fashion points for flair, no value in showing their other competitors all that's being cooked up behind doors.
But they must show up and win.
Kidwell is under the gun with one win out of six tests he's overseen and while his passion is obvious, it takes more than desire to create and deliver a good league side.
Let's hope his team instructions are more robust than his explanation about why he picked Kodi Nikorima ahead of Te Maire Martin in the starting squad.
The Kiwis have spoken about the brotherhood and being on the same wavelength as the coaches but corroboration about "Kiwis footy" needs to appear on the track at Mt Smart.
Where are they going to make the most of the attacking talents of Roger Tuivasa-Scheck and Shaun Johnson, how does Marty Tapau handle the front row, have they got the right centre pairing and how do they use the bench to get the best out of Nelson Asofa-Solomona?
There are many more questions accompanying everyone to Mt Smart tomorrow on a night when the Kiwis are looking for approval.