GOSFORD, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 09: Ken Maumalo of the Warriors celebrates with his team during the round five NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Manly Sea Eagles at Central Coast Stadium, on April 09, 2021, in Gosford, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

The New Zealand Warriors were stuck in Australia for the second year in a row, and while they fought bravely, it wasn't enough to play finals footy. Here is their season review.

Pre-season predicted finish: 13th
Actual finish: 12th
Record: Eight wins (-171)

2021 Season snapshot

The Warriors were forced away from New Zealand for the second straight season. It's worth taking that into account when speaking of the Warriors results.

They fell two wins, and point's differential, short of a finals spot but played a huge part in the finals race for the majority of the season.

The Warriors season went three weeks too long unfortunately as players left to return home and results suffered.

made some strange decisions this season but ultimately it's hard to be too critical considering everything they were up against.

New Zealand Warriors Media Opportunity
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - DECEMBER 04: Warriors Head Coach Nathan Brown during a New Zealand Warriors NRL media opportunity at Mount Smart Stadium on December 04, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Star player: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck

One last plaudit for the outgoing Warriors fullback. Again, he was the Warriors' elite in 2021 and helped keep his club together on and off the field.

Tuivasa-Sheck exits the club on the back of 17 appearances that saw him score four tries, assist six, make 11 line breaks, break 81 tackles and record over 200 metres run per game.

Showing his selflessness he offered to move to the wing to allow youngster Reece Walsh, the future of the Warriors number one jersey, to slot into the role.

The game is far less for the loss of RTS. He was brilliant in his final season in rugby league and should be remembered as a Warriors all-time great.

This came down to RTS, Josh Curran and Addin Fonua-Blake but the off-field influence swayed it.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 11: Roger Tuivasa-Sheck of the Warriors offloads during the round nine NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium on May 11, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Breakout star: Reece Walsh

Few young stars shone brighter than Reece Walsh in 2021. His move from the Broncos and debut in Round 7 for the Warriors kickstarted their season and. an incredible rise.

Across 16 appearances he scored nine tries, laid on 11 assists, made 14 line breaks, broke 53 tackles and ran for almost 120 metres per game.

He also took over the kicking duties landing 21 goals at 70 per cent. He would have played Origin if not for injury.

His talent is such that legendary fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck shifted to the wing to accommodate the freakishly skilled youngster.

He made a huge error of judgement on the Gold Coast but this will otherwise be a season to remember for both Walsh and the Warriors.

Rugby League Outlaws Review the Grand Final & Much More

Positives

Stars Emerge: Reece Walsh is the obvious example after establishing himself as a star in the making in his rookie season. He was far from the only one.

Josh Curran had a wow of a season. He was literally everywhere and played well beyond his years.

Sean O'Sullivan looks as though he'll form a brilliant combination with Shaun Johnson for 2022 and beyond.

Adam Pompey has another season under his belt and Rocco Berry managed to play eight games. They'll be right in the mix come Round 1 next season.

Forward Stocks: That Warriors pack next season is going to be among the competition's elite. Addin Fonua-Blake and Matt Lodge form arguably the game's best starting front row.

The aforementioned Josh Curran rose to great heights in 2021 and pushed RTS all the way as the side's best player. Tohu Harris was right there also and is a genius footballer.

Young Bayley Sironen looks a real talent, while Euan Aitken's move into the second row proved an absolute masterstroke. He was arguably their best player across the final month and a bit.

The Warriors have long had massive forward packs but this is one that suits the new rules and faster game much, much better.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 30: Euan Aitken of the Warriors is tackled during the round 20 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the New Zealand Warriors at Suncorp Stadium, on July 30, 2021, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Negatives

Heart and Soul gone: Tuivasa-Sheck leaving the club is brutal, on and off the field. His leadership and stature in the game is impossible to replace.

He has been seen as the heart and soul of the club for as long as I can remember. Shaun Johnson is the only player who can match him stature wise but is returning to the club after three years at the Sharks.

Walsh will go a long way to replacing the outgoing captain on the field in terms of talent but no one can lead by example quite like RTS.

Tohu Harris looks the next in line. He is the ultimate professional and most likely to take over in difficult circumstances. Fair replacement but it's impossible to replace Roger.

Three in a row: It looks very likely that the Warriors will be based in Australia for the third season in a row. That must be very, very difficult for players.

Home ground advantage is so important. The Warriors enjoy home country advantage, something no other club can boast. They likely won't enjoy that yet again.

The Warriors seem to have rallied around their Central Coast and now Redcliffe base but nothing will ever replicate home round advantage and comfort.

Season Grade: C-

When grading the Warriors season you have to take into account the fact they didn't play a single game at home, yet again. That's a huge disadvantage.

There was a lot to like this season for the Warriors. Reece Walsh is going to be a megastar of the game. Josh Curran was a huge standout. Tohu Harris is ageless.

There were times the Warriors played like a side who could push for a top eight spot but they simply lacked the ability to produce consistently.

They've developed and built a monster forward pack while bringing back superstar half Shaun Johnson to the club.

Results weren't great but the Warriors squad looks stronger for the experience.

Follow Zero Tackle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more of the latest rugby league news.