We all know that 2023 was the year of the Wahs, but coach Andrew Webster knew it before everyone else.
To recap: The NZ Warriors had all of Aotearoa behind them as they made it to the NRL preliminary finals for the first time since 2012. It was unreal.
After a few months of reflection, Webster has revealed when he knew his squad had a genuine shot at becoming champions. It was when the fellas went to Townsville, Queensland and beat the Cowboys 26 - 12.
“I thought round three, Cowboys away,” he told Newshub. “I thought that was when the boys finally really understood what they were doing was going to work and they had faith in it."
Before that game, the Warriors had lost 13 straight matches in Australia, so you can see why Webster thought it was a special win.
Another special moment for the 2023 NRL Coach of the Year was the team’s semi-final win over the Newcastle Knights at Go Media Stadium Mount Smart. They won 40 - 12 in front of the second-largest home crowd in franchise history.
After the game ended, the 26,000+ Warriors faithful sang the team’s now-famous victory song.
"The crowd after the Newcastle game that was the first time I walked out on the field and they were singing the song," Webster remembered. "As much as I enjoyed the year, that gave me goosebumps."
As good as 2023 was, Webby wants fans to know that he and the fellas aren’t content.
“Where we started and where we got to was outstanding, but we want more now,” adding that there’s only one way to define success: “And that’s to win the grand final.”
The Warriors’ 2024 NRL season kicks off on March 8th. They’ll be taking on the Cronulla Sharks at Go Media Stadium Mount Smart - let's pack it out.
It's our year, for real.