Brent Tate admits he never expected to be playing in a national rugby league preliminary final in his first season at the Warriors.
The former Brisbane centre, who won a premiership in 2006, moved to Auckland midway through last year after a season-ending knee injury cut short his final year at the Broncos.
After losing nine of their first 14 games, the Queenslander doubted the Warriors could recover to play finals football only to see them win ten of their last 12 games.
He says the side is very close knit and the momentum they've developed over their past four sudden death games will be a major help come Saturday night when they play Manly in Sydney for a place in the grand final.
Tate and departing warhorse Ruben Wiki are the only two Warriors to have won a premiership while skipper Steve Price has the title ring from 2004 but missed the Bulldogs win with injury.