Prop Jacob Lillyman is wary of looking too far ahead.
But after a solid month that steadied a shaky NRL campaign, the Warriors are about to embark on a series of games that could give them real momentum in their push for the playoffs.
Their next half-dozen fixtures are against opponents sitting outside the top six, starting with 10th-place Gold Coast in Auckland on Saturday.
“In an ideal scenario, we don’t want to be going into mathematical calculations and all that – we have to bank as many wins as we can now,” Lillyman said.
“If we keep improving at the rate we are, we’ll start racking some up, but you can’t look too far ahead and we’re fully focused on the Titans.”
Like Gold Coast, the Warriors are two points outside the top eight, but sit below the Titans on points differential.
After a dismal defeat to Canberra in New Plymouth in May, the Warriors went on a three-match winning run, which was halted by competition leaders Cronulla last weekend.
Despite the disappointment of losing a golden-point nail-biter 19-18, Lillyman said there were plenty of positives out of the performance, including the way the team stayed in the arm wrestle.
Against the Titans, the Warriors will field a settled line-up, with just one change to the starting 13.
Tuimoala Lolohea, originally named at fullback against the Sharks but instead used off the bench, goes to the right wing in place of a dropped Jonathan Wright.
Coach Andrew McFadden has again opted for wing David Fusitu’a’s bigger physical presence at fullback, while indicating that Fusitu’a and Lolohea could interchange during the match.
The Titans are also coming off a last-start loss, going down 30-22 to Canberra when two late tries weren’t enough to close a 20-point gap.
They have co-captain William Zillman back at fullback after a foot injury, but they have lost centre Nathan Davis to a season-ending ankle injury.
The match will be the 250th NRL fixture at Mt Smart Stadium and the 250th game for lock Simon Mannering, and Lillyman won’t be surprised if the club’s hard-working former skipper produces some big numbers again.
“He usually does, big `Dewy’ – he holds that middle together for us,” the Queensland Origin representative said.
“He does the things no one notices, but we certainly do.”
STATS THAT MATTER:
* The Warriors lead the Titans 11-7 in head-to-head and have won nine of the sides’ past 10 meetings
* The Titans are 3-4 on the road this season, but two of the losses have been within the margin of a converted try
* Warriors hooker Issac Luke leads the league in dummy-half runs (70) and dummy-half metres (657)