One of the perks of a winning season is being able to perform your team song in the sheds with your mates after each victory.

In 2022, NZ Warriors enjoyed that luxury precious few times - six to be exact - and even less at their spiritual home, as they served out the final months of their COVID-19 exile across the Tamsan, but turned that around this season to make a regular occurence of the ritual.

"I didn't know the words," admitted veteran utility Dylan Walker, a newcomer to the club in 2023, of his first team song, after their season-opening win over Newcastle Knights at Wellington in March.

"They didn't have it up in the shed, but we were lucky enough to sing that song a few times this year and it's simple. I really like it."

After each of their 15 NRL regular season wins, there were probably enough videos of that song posted on social media that most of the 26,000 fans at Go Media Stadium Mt Smart knew the words and pined for the chance to serenade their team after a playoff win over the Knights in their last home game.

The result was simply spine-tingling.

"It's pretty cool that the crowd knows the whole song," said Walker. "When you hear them singing it after the game, you know you've done a good job.

"As players, each and every week, you want to put in a proud performance for your fans and for your teammates. For them to jump on board, and to see the love and support we get from everyone in Auckland - and New Zealand as a whole - it's pretty special."

Having the Warriors back in Auckland, after three seasons watching from afar, has obviously meant a lot to devoted Warriors supporters and those that jumped onboard the bandwagon, as their incredible season under rookie coach Andrew Webster unfolded before their eyes.

"It's crazy," said Webster, who had served as a Warriors assistant for two seasons, before honing his craft with the champion Penrith Panthers.

"When I came back, I was, like, 'Oh, team song... what is it?' and when they started singing, I remember straight away from the last time I was here.

"I missed that [crowd singing] on the weekend and someone showed me on video - I just couldn't believe it. For the whole crowd to be singing the team song, the atmosphere was electric.

"It was cool, really cool."

That support has undoubtedly fuelled the team's dramatic improvement and made the renamed home stadium a fortress, where they accumulated an 8-5 record throughout the campaign, including their playoff triumph.

"I think the crowd, in general, was one of the best I've played in front of," reflected five-eighth Te Maire Martin. "It was noisy and hard to call any plays, with how noisy it was.

"I know a few of the boys took a lot of drive out of it. Dal [winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak] is tired all the time and he got a good lift from the crowd being loud."

Love for the 'Wahs' hasn't topped at the ditch, with many of their road games feeling like home affairs, as ex-pat Kiwis flock to the cause. What are the chances of another mass choir at Brisbane?

"It's going to be exiting this weekend, because I know how loud Suncorp can get, when you're the Brisbane team," said Martin, who spent last season with the Broncos.

"Hopefully, we get a few Kiwis from the Gold Coast and Brizzy come up, and I know a few people from here that are going over, so that will be good."

Join Newshub at 9:30pm Saturday for live updates of the Warriors v Broncos NRL preliminary final

2023-09-19T23:10:17Z dg43tfdfdgfd