Newcastle Knights' hopes of a top four finals finish were dealt a massive blow at Tamworth after they slumped to a humiliating 36-6 upset loss to the Warriors.
Down 8-6 at halftime, the Knights gave up 28 unanswered points in the second half in their worse performance under coach Adam O'Brien to continue their reputation for struggling against teams below them on the competition ladder.
While they should still reach the finals this season, they will be merely making up the numbers if they take the same lack of attitude, effort and application into the big end of season games.
The warning signs that the Knights hadn't turned up to really compete hard were there almost from the opening whistle and in the end, they got what they deserved.
They were fortunate to go in at halftime only two points in arrears after a mistake-riddled opening 40 minutes saw the Warriors dominate for long periods.
Hooker Kurt Mann was one of the chief offenders, coming up with three of his side's five errors in the opening 25 minutes which had his side on the back foot.
In hot conditions in Tamworth, Newcastle's defensive line speed was found wanting with the Warriors jumping out to an 8-0 advantage off the back of quick play-the-balls and surges from their forwards.
Centre Peta Hiku put his winger Adam Pompey over in the corner for a converted try after eight minutes following two Knights errors in their own half and Chanel Harris-Tavita extended the lead to eight points with a penalty goal 13 minutes in.
At that point, the Knights had only completed four of their first seven sets but almost against the run of play, they hit back.
Midway through the half, Mitchell Pearce put up a perfectly placed cross-field kick for his centre Gehamat Shibasaki to out-jump George Jennings to score.
Kalyn Ponga converted and it was 8-6.
Pearce almost gave his side the lead when he beat several defenders in a dart to the try-line only to be stripped of the footy as he reached out to score.
The Warriors over-all dominance in the first half continued in the second with a strangle-hold on possession.
Josh King saved a try for the Knights when he somehow managed to prevent Daniel Alvaro from grounding the ball over the line.
But the reprieve was short-lived with Warriors skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck stepping inside Pearce to score to stretch the lead to 14-6.
It was a long way back for the Knights at 18-6 when Hiku put Pompey over in the corner after 63 minutes after the Knights had defended three sets on their own line. But it only got worse as the Warriors piled on the pressure.
In the end, it was a procession as they piled on tries at will with the Warriors scoring three of their five second half tries in the final 11 minutes.