The Warriors proved their stay in the top eight could be long-term, with a stunning 48-0 win against the Eels at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday night.
The boisterous 14,087-strong crowd hardly had time to sit as the home side romped to a 36-0 half-time lead before sealing their third-straight win at Mount Smart in style.
The Warriors, who climbed to sixth on the NRL ladder and extended Parramatta’s Mount Smart hoodoo to eight years, began the match two places above their opponents.
But after a dominant eight-tries-to-none win, their biggest of the season, it was apparent that the gap in class was indeed much wider.
It was by far the classiest performance the Warriors have produced under coach Andrew McFadden and came complete with another Shaun Johnson masterclass.
The Kiwis halfback scored a first-half try and converted tries to David Fusitua, Sam Tomkins (two), Konrad Hurrell, Simon Mannering, Ben Henry and Chad Townsend on a perfect night with the boot.
Without Jarryd Hayne – given the week off to recover from three gruelling Origin encounters – there was little of the grit and determination the Eels showed in their loss to the Knights prior to last week’s bye.
Pauli Pauli tried to get things going with a few hard runs at the defence, while Peni Terepo came up with a brilliant one-on-one strip to halt the rampant Warriors, albeit briefly.
Conceding the first try just three minutes after kick-off, the Eels looked stunned and failed to recover as the Warriors went on to score a total of four tries at the turn of the second quarter.
Tomkins proved he is an elite fullback in the NRL, slicing the defence to shreds while showing composure under the high ball.
The England star scored the second of two tries as the Warriors displayed their physical dominance, winning the ball against the scrum feed as Tomkins scooped up the loose ball then slid over from close range.
He then turned provider.
After breaching the Eels’ defence Tomkins set Mannering away for the Warriors’ sixth try that handed them a healthy lead at the break.
The Eels showed some improvement in the second half but failed to register a point as Henry and Townsend crossed for the Warriors.