The Warriors will miss the NRL finals series for a fifth consecutive season after two late Wests Tigers tries gave the side a controversial 30-24 win in Auckland.
Five-eighth Mitchell Moses and centre Kevin Naiqama scored in the 76th and 79th minutes to break the Warriors’ hearts.
Both sides required a victory at Mt Smart Stadium to stay in the finals hunt after losing two games on the bounce and they produced an exciting end-to-end spectacle.
However two controversial disallowed try decisions against the Warriors for obstruction – and the Tigers’ late tries, both after the Warriors failed to control the high ball – meant the Sydney-based outfit hold out for at least a week longer.
For the Warriors, an improved performance will count for naught after a strong mid-season run was ruined by disappointing losses to the Rabbitohs and Cowboys.
An inauspicious opening period sprung into life in the seventh minute when Tigers fullback David Nofoaluma was found to have fumbled a Manu Vatuvei grubber.
Second rower Bodene Thompson strolled over from the resulting scrum to put the Warriors in front against his former side.
The Warriors put their defensive woes against the Rabbitohs and Cowboys behind them in the opening passages, hitting the Tigers with quick line speed.
One particularly brutal Albert Vete tryline tackle knocked the ball right out of Tigers skipper Aaron Woods hands.
However the Tigers drew level in the 19th minute. when young gun Luke Brooks made a line break before prop Sauaso Sue barged over from a resulting play.
The Tigers hit the lead six minutes later after the Warriors gifted good field position with back-to-back penalties and Woods crashed over under the posts.
The Warriors hit back with two tries in two minutes.
Prolific centre Solomone Kata crossed after the Warriors created an overload on the left flank, before stalwart Simon Mannering returned his side to the lead at 18-12 with a try when centre Blake Ayshford palmed a Shaun Johnson bomb back.
Kata then wasted a golden opportunity to extend his side’s lead when the ball was punched out of his hands as he went to score, before having a try disallowed on the half-time buzzer for obstruction.
The match erupted in the 56th minute when Tigers winger Josh Addo-Carr dashed 70 metres to cross and level the scores again.
A try to returning utility Tuimoala Lolohea put the Warriors back in front in the 65th minute, before the Warriors had another try ruled out for obstruction two minutes later.
Sue scored his second try to level the scores yet again, before the last-gasp tries to Moses and Naiqama both following poor defence from kicks – left the Warriors to ponder what might have been yet again.