NRL: NZ Warriors remaining grounded as return to playoffs nears

NZ Warriors are keeping a lid on the excitement, despite the hype that's starting to build around their NRL title credentials.

Fresh off what they conceded was a well-timed bye, they find themselves in the top four, with five games to come - all against teams outside the top eight.

But despite the position they're in, it's the players who are ensuring they don't get too comfortable.

The Warriors were all smiles at training on Monday, and rightly so after a welcome week off.

Marata Niukore celebrates against Canberra Raiders.
Marata Niukore celebrates against Canberra Raiders. Photo credit: Photosport

"[I was] washing, cleaning the house," said Marcelo Montoya of his week off. "It was probably me putting the chores list together.

"I'm a clean freak, so just clean for no reason. That's pretty much all I did."

Coach Andrew Webster was more moving house rather than cleaning it.

"My wife made sure I was busy," he said. "That's for sure. And my little son did too."

But this week is now about shifting focus, rather than furniture.

The Warriors have five regular season games left - all against teams outside the top eight - starting on Friday against Gold Coast Titans.

Webster has been adamant all season that he doesn't look at the NRL ladder. But as the pointy end of the season approaches, he jokes when that could change.

"Hopefully grand final day if we're in the grand final," he said. "Honestly though, going into the last game I'll have a look."

At a time when other sides are losing players, the Warriors could welcome a key one back, with forward Jazz Tevaga in line to return from the calf injury suffered on ANZAC Day.

Continuity rather than complacency, is at the front of the team's mind.

"Really, we haven't achieved anything," said fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad. "We're just in the top four at the moment, and that's just how it is right now. 

"We've got a big five weeks of rugby league coming up. That's our week-by-week mentality."

As for what would constitute success come the end of the year?

"Holding up the big one at the end of the year," he concluded.

The stake's been put in the ground at Mt Smart, as the path towards the push to the playoffs, begins now.

Join Newshub at 8pm Friday for live updates of the Warriors v Gold Coast Titans NRL clash