The optimism around the Warriors has been torpedoed after they were embarrassed 32-0 by the Sydney Roosters tonight.
The five-tries-to-none humiliation saw the home side fail to fire a shot in a poor display in front of 14,095 fans in the Indigenous Round clash at Mt Smart Stadium.
First half tries to forward Ryan Matterson and Hamilton-born left-wing Joseph Manu helped the Roosters to a 14-0 halftime lead, and they followed up with second-half four-pointers to right wing Blake Ferguson, fullback James Tedesco, and forward Isaac Liu, with centre Lattrell Mitchell finishing with six goals.
The Warriors strong season start has given way to inconsistency with three defeats in their past five matches all marked by their inability to match the opposition's intensity and enthusiasm.
Without two of their first choice playmakers, Shaun Johnson and Issac Luke, the understrength Warriors lacked spark on attack and energy on defence against a Roosters outfit hell-bent on revenge after going down 30-6 when the two sides last met in their round four encounter in Sydney.
Fill-in hooker Karl Lawton as kept quiet as the Roosters dominated the early stages before being replaced by bench forward Jazz Tevaga, while back-up halfback Mason Lino was given little room to move by the visitor's rush defence before departing in the 67th minute with a possible syndesmosis problem.
The Warriors, wearing their one-off Maori heritage themed jerseys, were sluggish from the kick-off with an error in their opening set the first of six committed before halftime. Many of their unforced mistakes were coughed up early in sets within their own half as they struggled in the slippery conditions.
The visitor's forward pack came ready for business with front-rowers Dylan Napa and Kiwi international Jared Waerea-Hargreaves bringing plenty of aggression to dominate the physical collisions.
Napa made it his personal mission to go hunting for his opposite Agnatius Paasi, and the pair enjoyed a good battle before the Warriors prop was forced off briefly to undergo a Head Injury Assessment after clashing heads with the Queensland forward.
Ill-discipline was also an issue for the home side with the Roosters opening the scoring with a Mitchell penalty goal after 18 minutes, before a knock-on from Peta Hiku presented the chance for Matterson to cross for the first try off a Cronk pass just past the half hour mark.
Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck tried to lift his side with some powerful runs from fullback but the Roosters kept their line intact before a Cooper Cronk grubber earned a repeat set from which Manu scored their second-four-pointer just before the break.
Another error from the kick-off of the second-half put the Roosters back on attack, with Ferguson claiming their third try, before five-eighth Luke Keary sent Tedesco in to score in his 100th NRL match to effectively seal the result in the 46th minute.
Disappointed punters were already heading to the exits when Mitchell booted his second penalty with 12 minutes remaining, and they would be grateful to have missed Liu crossing in the dying stages.
Frustrations threatened to boil over at the death with Waerea-Hargreaves sinbinned after clashing with Kiwis teammate and Warriors forward Adam Blair.
The Warriors remain in third spot on the premiership ladder and will look to bounce back in next Friday's match against Parramatta in Sydney.
Roosters 32 (Ryan Matterson, Joseph Manu, Blake Ferguson, James Tedesco, Isaac Liu tries, Lattrell Mitchell 4 cons, 2 pens)