Warriors coach Nathan Brown liked the heart he saw in Saturday's 19-6 win against the Titans but an ankle injury to Euan Aitken could sideline the centre next week.
Back in the NRL coach's box for the first time since exiting Newcastle in 2019, Brown hailed the team's newest recruits including "world-class" prop Addin Fonua-Blake, fellow forward Bayley Sironen and Aitken, who played the full match despite his injury.
While it was an underwhelming round-one display from Justin Holbrook's hyped Gold Coast outfit, featuring their own marquee signings David Fifita and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, the Warriors repelled them from scoring until the 73rd minute and completed 40/44 sets.
Fatigue seemed to set in early for both teams as the temperature hovered around 30 degrees at Central Coast Stadium, but that didn't stop ex-Manly enforcer Fonua-Blake from making 202 metres.
"[Addin's] a world-class player, isn't he? I've said it before, we were fortunate to get Addin," Brown said.
Match: Warriors v Titans
Round 1 -
Venue: Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
"Recruitment is the key to any successful club. If you don't recruit well, you don't do well. To get a player of Addin's skill and talent for us was very, very important ... He's only 25, so his best years are coming."
Brown wasn't sure whether former Dragon Aitken, who made 132 metres and 16 tackles without a miss on the left edge, would recover in time for Friday's clash with the Knights.
"I'm very happy with his performance, [but] I'm not sure how bad his ankle is or whether he'll be available next week," Brown added.
"He did for us today what we needed him to do. If he's unavailable next week, then we've got Adam Pompey, who had a great back-end of last year and trialled well, as a very capable replacement."
Halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita was placed on report for tripping Patrick Herbert in the second half, giving Brown another headache.
The New Zealand club's other new addition, Sironen, scored the game's first try after a 25-minute deadlock.
His hit-and-spin effort was the only four-pointer until Warriors front-rower Leeson Ah Mau, who missed most of last year with a pectoral injury, claimed a similar barge-over try in the 51st minute.
As the Titans struggled to find their groove, the Warriors wrapped up the result when five-eighth Kodi Nikorima crossed the stripe thanks to a lovely offload from barnstorming prop Bunty Afoa.
Winger Corey Thompson finally got the Titans in the last 10 minutes before Harris-Tavita booted a field goal at the death.
Bunty the battering ram sets up Nikorima
Fifita, playing left second row, had to wait 11 minutes for his first carry. The ex-Broncos star finished with 13 runs for 117 metres, 25 tackles and an error in 71 minutes.
Fa'asuamaleaui, a premiership winner with the Storm, managed 17 carries for 149 metres as well as 32 tackles, including a heavy collision with Sironen that reverberated around the ground, and two errors.
The Gold Coast would have broken a club-record winning streak if they prevailed having ended 2020 with five consecutive victories.
Sironen hits and spins his way to the opener
Given the Warriors lost Sironen and hooker Wayde Egan to head knocks in the second half, Brown praised their resolve.
"We certainly earned everything out there... The boys kept turning up for each other, that was key to our victory," he said.
"They were very gritty. I'd like to think that over the course of the year, our combinations will improve down the track.
"We played a simple game today and our effort was what earned us the win; our commitment and effort in defence."
Since adopting Central Coast Stadium as their base last year, the Warriors have now won five of nine matches at the venue.