And if they go, what hope left for the Warriors this season?
They lost when they should have won on a happy hunting ground on Friday night, throwing away an early lead to go down 16-12 against the Titans at Cbus Super Stadium.
For more than a year the Gold Coast hadn’t won at home. It’s the only thing some of the Warriors can think about right now.
Interim coach Todd Payten will do his best to hold the squad together. Making it to the final round with a team still on the park might be his greatest achievement.
“We’ve all got our heads around the fact we’re not going home [as a group before the end of the season],” Payten said. “You saw in the performance and effort … tonight we showed some resilience.
“I’ve given [the homesick players] my word if we don’t have a clear outcome from the government or NRL they can go home. It will put pressure on us.
“[But] for the reasons they need to go back, they have to go back. I asked them to commit until after the Sharks game and they gave me that commitment. The boys are in good spirits and are working hard, enjoying each other’s company. I can see us coming out the other end a better side.”
The Warriors debuted their infamous “bush shirt” jerseys, initially designed as a tribute to the New Zealand capital Wellington where they had scheduled a home game.
Little did they know the winds of change would have blown so savagely through the club, which axed coach Stephen Kearney last month.
Warriors skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck successfully triggered a captain’s challenge to help set up his opening try and Maumalo needed only a few more minutes to notch the Warriors’ second, latching on to the end of sweet Peta Hiku pass.
Then the Warriors didn’t score for the next 72 minutes.
“It was just a great determined win,” Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook said. “We’re a bit of a patched-up side at the moment, but I’m really happy with the way we’ve got on with it. We hadn’t won [our last] 10 games here so I’m just really happy for all the fans that turned up.”
Maumalo’s opposite Anthony Don halved the Warriors’ early lead, Sam Stone cut it to two shortly after the break when Tyrone Peachey miraculously threw the ball back for the second-rower when Ash Taylor’s kick looked overcooked for all money.
Finally, the hammer blow with six minutes left. A week after the best shopfront display he could have hoped for, Blake Green couldn’t swat a short kick dead and Beau Fermor finally gave the Titans a home comfort.
Which, right now, is all some Warriors really crave.
GOLD COAST TITANS 16 (Anthony Don, Sam Stone, Beau Fermor tries; Ash Taylor, Jamal Fogarty goals) defeated NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS 12 (Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Ken Maumalo tries; Chanel Harris-Tavita 2 goals) at Cbus Super Stadium. Referee: Chris Butler.
Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.