Where it went wrong for the Warriors and where to from here
After yet another season of failure, league writer Marvin France runs the rule over the Warriors to see where it all went wrong - and gauge just how much work is needed to turn things around.
Almost three seasons in the role questions are now beginning to be asked of the highly-rated administrator. Some of Jim Doyle's high-profile signings have not worked out, although it is hard to blame him for taking a gamble on Kieran Foran. Remains the man to take the club forward, but having put all his chips in Stephen Kearney's corner, so much of his success is tied to the coach's performance.
It is unfair to judge a coach on one season but the jury is still well and truly out on Stephen Kearney. Has the team playing a conservative style of football that keeps them in games for longer, although is yet to solve the constant lapses in concentration. Defensively, there have been some steps forward but the attack has looked clueless at times and is a major concern. Has started to overhaul the roster but deserves more time to see how 'the process' will turn out.
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has been one of the club's best performers, although his captaincy remains a work in progress. By his own admission, he is still getting to grips with how to address some of the players. 'RTS' gets a pass because of his age, but the team needs strong leadership now more than ever. Tuivasa-Sheck already holds himself to extremely high standards, he needs to demand the same from his teammates.
For all his detractors, and there are a quite a few, the Warriors have failed to win their last 11 games without Johnson on the field. Led the NRL in try assists up until his knee injury and impressed with his short kicking game. But is still too erratic and doubts remain whether he can be the focal point of the team. Given his new contract, the Warriors expect him to be but Foran's departure means there will only be more pressure on Johnson's shoulders in 2018.
Started off with a bang but dropped away as the season progressed. There have been mitigating factors, such as injury and a lack of go-forward upfront, while his mentoring of rookie five-eighth Ata Hingano may yet pay off in the long run. However, on the whole, he has not had the impact many had hoped for.
Granted, he is not playing behind the powerful pack that made his running game so effective at Souths but Luke's signing has failed to live up to expectations. Looked to be hitting his stride in the middle of the season before an injury setback. The only big-name player demoted after the Newcastle defeat, the cub desperately need him to get the message.
The team's biggest Achilles heel this season. While the Warriors have spent up large in the playmaking positions, they have neglected the one area where games are actually won - in the middle. That has not been helped by the lack of progress by some of the younger props, but apart from James Gavet and, more recently, Ben Matulino, they have struggled to lay a consistent platform for the halves to excel.
Solomone Kata, David Fusitu'a and Ken Maumalo have all had their moments but, just like the rest of the team, let themselves down by a lack of consistency. The emergence of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has added depth on the wing while Blake Ayshford has been solid at centre. But as reliable as Ayshford is, Fusitu'a still strikes as a better long-term option if he can fix his defensive deficiencies.
Made a decent start with Tohu Harris and if Leivaha Pulu brings his form from the Titans, he will strengthen the pack. But there have been no other significant signings since. That could change if the Broncos release Adam Blair, who would be a quality addition though his age presents some risk. Uncertainty around the cap means they could still add a few more players where an explosive forward and experienced half must be top of the list (the latter is easier said than done). Above all, though, they have to ignore the quick-fix and invest in players who will help drive the change in culture.