The New Zealand Warriors are on 14 premiership points going into Round 17 of the Telstra 2019 NRL Premiership competition and they face the Broncos in Brisbane as holders of the 11th rung to the Broncos down at 14.
Sixteen points would put them in the top eight, provided they can do something about their -35 point differential.
It is conceivable, as the Warriors have the Panthers and Wests above them. Only Canterbury are worse than the Panthers in terms of point differential, but Penrith finds a way to remain in finals contention despite having been outscored 308 to 215 by opponents.
How Penrith have managed to win seven games is almost magical, but the circumstances involving the Warriors are that they have failed to win close games.
They got past the Newcastle Knights at McDonald Jones Stadium, but they nearly squandered a win due to various officiating snafus.
The Warriors know that they need to play to the point where they have sufficient cushion that a blown call or two during a game does not affect the outcome.
In the case of the game with the Knights, there were three calls went agasint Stephen Kearney’s side, two in the last 15 minutes of the game.
The first of these was when a certain try to Ken Maumalo was overturned by the bunker and the second when play was allowed to continue when it should have stopped to allow for tending to Peta Hiku, who encountered a concussion issue.
The Knights scored on the next play to take the lead, but give the Warriors credit. They did not fold the tent and head for the next town.
Lesson learned, hopefully, according to Warriors’ veteran Adam Blair, who noted that everyone was surprised that play was not stopped for Hiku.
“There’s a couple of moments there – the Mason (Lino) one and the Pita Hiku one – that we most probably clocked off because we thought the ref was going to stop it,” Blair said. “If we’re playing well enough to win games then we won’t rely on refs’ calls.”