Seasons with a team disqualified are always a bit of a lottery. Look at 02 - going into the final round there were like 4 teams who could have won the Minor Premiership. In the end we jagged it on other results.
So its pretty hard to make a comparison when we could be finishing 4th-8th depending on "bees dick" measurements like points differential. Another team getting flogged in Round 26 and being forced below us doesnt imply that holistically we have become better, or worse if it's other way round.
Maybe a better measure is to look at the W/L record, defence and attack stats in isolation...and the quality and style of football played in the season. I know this is a massive call...but perhaps the Price injury was a blessing in disguise for the club? We now have 3 young, hungry front row boppers who have had a taste of responsibility - Ivan has sent them to take the world on.
The mental side appears to have strenghtened considerably...streets apart from the Panthers flogging i attended earlier in the season. Of late ive noticed Mannering seemingly become more comfortable in his role, on and off the field. With regards to leadership, you've got Mannering, Luck and Tate as the dominant forces and then on the next level guys like Packer and Maloney, who i'd call "young leaders". Maloney is a hot head, but you can see he has passion for his team. I hope the Axis of Laziness can be absorbed into the team next year and that we can bring out the best in them (and not have them drag the side down with ego).
Lastly, although ive got an axe to grind about the fullback and hooker positions, i admit that this club's achilles heel - player (esp. youth) development - looks to be coming good. Most of the forward pack is basically Warrior-developed product. We have had to buy halves, but their ongoing development will reflect our efforts. And anyway, there's a difference between buying an established NRL player and a greenhorn like Maloney. Encouragingly there is also some quality talent building up in the Under 20's that will maintain pressure spots.
All in all, the next 3 years i think are looking the brightest of any era for the Warriors...