Exactly right. We had strong finishes in 2007-2008 and 2010-2011 to finish in the lower 8, and 4th in 2007. Last year we really limped home and would have struggled to make it if it wasn't for the 5-0 start.I think we should put the bed the whole Origin period where the Warriors get going. We might get a few wins when the opposition are missing a few players but hitting form to close out the season is no longer true.
The Cleary years it might have been the case where we would get going towards the end of the year. No it's more likely a small period before closing out the season on a losing streak when our finals hope are gone.
The whole Warriors winning through the origin period is over rated, and as you say is usually against weakened opposition. Just look at this season where we struggled to beat a severely depleted Newcastle team.
Inexplicably poor finishes to the season have been so costly and highlights the lack of stamina and concentration required to succeed in the NRL.