Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
21 hours ago
The Warriors' dream of winning the National Rugby League (NRL) title becomes less of a fantasy every week. The club's eighth successive victory - a 46-10 rout away to South Sydney on Saturday night - further enhanced their growing reputation as legitimate title contenders.
And while coach Daniel Anderson insists the pre-season aims of the club and players have not changed, he did admit the buzz of a title challenge was present.
"There's a little bit of a tickling there," a satisfied Anderson said following the New Zealand Warriors' latest demolition of an Australian foe.
"We can all dream a little bit.
"But we all know the pitfalls of doing that too."
The win left the Vodafone Warriors in second spot on the 2002 NRL table after 14 rounds; one point behind the Canterbury Bulldogs and ahead of defending champions Newcastle Knights on points differential.
They must be favoured to extend their winning run to nine when they host the struggling St George-Illawarra Dragons at Ericsson Stadium on Sunday before facing the toughest test yet of their title credentials - an away trip against the Brisbane Broncos.
Anderson said the pre-season goals for the club were to firstly secure a home semifinal in the top eight playoffs, and secondly, to win a semifinal encounter.
Last season the franchise lost its first playoff encounter away to the Parramatta Eels to be eliminated at the first hurdle.
But Anderson isn't wishing to look any further ahead than the Dragons. "Of course the ultimate aim is to win a premiership. But the top four is still a long way off for us - we're not guaranteed a place there by any means with so many games still to go."
After holding off a spirited start from Souths, the Warriors simply rolled over the hosts with another power-packed display coupled with some outstanding pieces of skill.
In-form second rower Ali Lauiti'iti was the individual star.
Anderson's sole concern was with a kicking game that was "a little haywire at times".
The club will also find out late today if prop Jerry Seuseu will be required to front the NRL judiciary following a careless high tackle on opposing prop Paul Stringer that saw him placed on report.