Where does 2023 stand for the best ever start to an NRL season for the Warriors?

ANALYSIS: Have deducted one of their most notable victories of all timeAt the same time, the Warriors have accomplished something they’ve accomplished only once before in the past 20 years.

The epic victory over the Sharks in Sydney on Sunday nightas they came down from 20-0 to prevail 32-30, secured a fourth win from five starts for the Kiwi club in 2023.

New coach Andrew Webster is clearly making a huge impact, the former Warriors assistant who then worked under former Warriors coach Ivan Cleary with the Tigers and Panthers has instilled real belief in the historically inconsistent outfit.

The Warriors have been so up and down in the past that in their previous 28 years in the NRL (and associated former leagues) they have only lost no more than one of their first five games of a season on two occasions.

* Watch: Shaun Johnson at the Warriors’ ‘funny s…’ rave before NRL win comeback
* Warriors coach Andrew Webster explains why Shaun Johnson’s game is on a new level
* Warriors make an incredible comeback to beat Sharks in an epic NRL game

Only once in their history did the Auckland side win 5-0 to start a campaign. And that was the last time they made the playoffs, in 2018.

That year, Stephen Kearney’s second in charge, they opened with a 32-20 win over the Rabbitohs in Perth, backed it up with a 20-8 win over the Titans at Mt Smart Stadium and then went on to beat the Raiders 20 – 19 in Canberra, eventual premiers defeated the Roosters 30-8 in Sydney and defeated the Cowboys 22-12 at Mt Smart, before ending the streak at their home ground the following week in a 27-18 loss to the Broncos .

The Warriors scored a remarkable come-from-behind victory over the Sharks in Sydney on Sunday.

David Neilson/Photosport

The Warriors scored a remarkable come-from-behind victory over the Sharks in Sydney on Sunday.

This is only the second time the Warriors have gone 4-1 out of the blocks. The last time was in 2003 when, in Daniel Anderson’s third year in charge, they backed up their first Grand Final appearance with a trip to the Preliminary Final.

That started with a 36-26 home loss to the Knights at what was then Ericsson Stadium, but was followed by a 24-20 win there over the Bulldogs, a 20-16 win over the Sea Eagles in Sydney, a 38-16 success at the Rabbitohs back at Ericsson, then a memorable 32-12 victory over the Broncos in Brisbane.

So after this year beating the Knights 20-12 in Wellington, losing by the same score to the Roosters in Sydney, beating the Cowboys 26-12 in Townsville, passing the Bulldogs 16-14 at Mt Smart and now the huge road comeback against the Sharks, it certainly bodes well for a return to finals footy – somewhere the Warriors have only been once in the last 11 years.

The Warriors season kicks off with their first five games:

5-0: One-off: 2018 (finished 8th out of 16 teams, lost in the first round of the playoffs)

4-1: Twice: 2023, 2003 (finished 6th of 15, lost in preliminary final)

3-2: Five times: 2010 (5th of 16, lost in first week of playoffs), 2008 (8th of 16, lost in Preliminary Final), 2007 (4th of 16, lost in second week of playoffs), 2002 (1st of 15, lost in grand final), 1996 (11th of 20)

2-3: 17 times: 2022 (15th of 16), 2021 (12th of 16), 2020 (10th of 16), 2019 (13th of 16), 2017 (13th of 16), 2016 (10th of 16), 2015 (13th of 16), 2014 (9th of 16), 2012 (14th of 16), 2011 (6th of 16, lost in grand final), 2009 (14th of 16), 2006 (10th of 15), 2005 (11th of 15), 2001 (8th of 14, lost in first week of playoffs), 1999 (11th of 17), 1998 (15th of 20), 1997 (7th of 10).

1-1(tie)-3: One-off: 2000 (13th of 14)

1-4: Three times: 2013 (11th of 16), 2004 (14th of 15), 1995 (10th of 20)

0-5: zero times: Remarkably, for all their struggles, the Warriors have never started a season with five losses.

Can they make it four at a trot?

The Warriors will try to get four wins in a row this weekend.

In a quirk of the draw, their next two games come against sides they’ve already played and beat, with the Knights next in Newcastle on Easter Sunday and the Cowboys at Mt Smart the following Saturday.

The Warriors have managed to pull off a four-game win streak in 14 of their 28 seasons, though they’ve converted it into five-game runs only six times.

Only on two other occasions did they go longer, with six wins on the trot in their first season in 1995, and a record eight in a row in that magnificent year of 2002, in which they won a minor premiership.

Most consecutive Warriors wins in a season:

8: 2002

6: 1995

5: 2018, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2003 (twice), 1997

4: 2011, 2008 (twice), 2006 (twice), 2001, 1999, 1996

The Warriors will do extremely well to match that record of eight this year, as after the next two weeks comes three weeks of huge trials, with the Storm (in Melbourne on Anzac Day), followed by the Roosters (at Mt Smart ), then twice defending Prime Ministers the Panthers (in Brisbane during the Magic Round).

But as they showed on Sunday night, the Warriors seem capable of anything this year.