The Warriors' spot in the third season of the NRL Telstra Women's Premiership season was under a cloud but in the end not even a global pandemic could keep them out of the action.
For a group assembled in less than two weeks due to the withdrawal of 17 players from their 2019 squad due to international border restrictions, a final-round win against the Dragons was the icing on the cake.
The appointment of Brad Donald a month before the team were due to play proved a masterstroke with the Jillaroos coach bringing with him a mix of experience, youth and cross-code talent.
Like their male counterparts, the efforts and sacrifice of this team was among the stories of the season.
Match Highlights: Dragons v Warriors
The Warriors pulled together a team that included five incumbents, five players from rival NRLW clubs and 12 debutantes from across NSW and Queensland.
Included in the 22-player squad were rugby sevens stars Ellia Green and Evania Pelite, who stood out on the left edge in their first attempts at the 13-a-side game.
Despite fielding the most inexperienced side in terms of matches played, Brad Donald's outfit were the oldest on average compared to the other three teams in the competition.
For a lot of the rookies who got their chance at the Warriors, they had an opportunity to make their case to remain with the club next year.
Try scoring – game time
The Warriors made a habit of starting and finishing games strong but lacked in the middle periods when the game was in a grind.
Their seven tries conceded during the 16-45 minute marks was the most of any side, while they could only manage two tries in return themselves in the middle 30 minutes of matches.
The left edge of Evania Pelite and Ellia Green proved electric with five of the 10 Warriors' tries scored between them.
The Warriors performed strongly in most attacking areas to lead the competition in tackle breaks and offloads. Their completion rate average was also the best of any side.
Evania Pelite (22) and Ellia Green (16) led the way with tackle busts, while the pair finished behind only Broncos fullback Tamika Upton (6) in line breaks with four each.
Warriors back-rower Tazmin Gray finished between her former Broncos teammates Chelsea Lenarduzzi and Amber Hall with a team-high seven offloads.
Run metres differential
The yardage battle proved an issue for the Warriors with hardened, experienced middles hard to come by in the NRLW, particularly at late notice.
The side's metres gained per game average was much lower than other teams in the competition despite a near-even share of 49.4 per cent possession across the three games.
Evania Pelite (138.8m/game) and Warriors fullback Karina Brown (114.4m/game) were the key metre-eaters for the side, while prop Crystal Tamarua averaged 87.7m per game in the engine room.
The Warriors were disciplined across the three rounds with a competition-best nine penalties conceded. On a negative note, they were let down by an average of nine errors per game.
Warriors playmaker Kirra Dibb and hooker Kanyon Paul were guilty in this area to lead with four errors each with Evania Pelite (3) and Teaghan Hartigan (3) finishing in the unwanted top 10.
Dibb was also level with Dragons prop Elsie Albert for most missed tackles in the competition with 13.
Another area the Warriors struggled to produce in was off the boot with their kicking metres total the worst of any other side in the competition.
Brad Donald tinkered with his halves combinations across the three weeks but the Warriors coach stuck solid with primary playmaker Kirra Dibb, who led the way with 570 metres, an increase of 122 metres from her efforts at the Roosters last year.
However, despite being a usual sharpshooter with the boot, Dibb struggled with converting the side's 10 tries with just four goals. She kicked at 80 per cent last year.
Good ball sets
According to NRL.com stats, the Warriors had more good ball sets than any other side in the competition.
A good ball set is generally measured by territory and opportunity to turn an attacking chance into points through either a fresh set inside the opponents' half or multiple chances close to the line.
Interestingly, the Warriors and Dragons, who both failed to reach the grand final, had more good ball sets than the top two Broncos and Roosters sides during the regular season.
Putting kick pressure on the opposition took another increase in 2020 compared to the previous two years and the Warriors produced the most while also recording the best kick chase.
Warriors captain Georgia Hale was the competition's best with seven pieces of kick pressure applied on playmakers, while Sam Economos and Tazmin Gray (5) finished in the top five.
Veteran Warrior Hilda Peters also stood up with four.
2020 Form Guide
|1||Broncos||GI Stadium, Canberra||Lost 28-14|
|2||Roosters||Bankwest Stadium, Sydney||Lost 22-12|
|3||Dragons||ANZ Stadium, Sydney||Won 22-10|