Crestfallen senior Warriors players have expressed their bitterness at facing a fifth consecutive season without finals football.
The Warriors went into Sunday’s match against Wests Tigers knowing only a win would do to keep them in the finals hunt after back-to-back losses to Souths and North Queensland.
However a disastrous final 10 minutes, in which the Tigers steamrolled a pliant Warriors defence to bag three tries, condemned the side to yet another early off-season.
The 36-24 defeat was particularly hard to take for five-eighth Thomas Leuluai, who will depart the club after next week’s match against Parramatta.
He struggled to find the words to sum up his misery.
“I haven’t felt like this after a game for a long time,” Leuluai said.
“All credit to the Tigers but I think we lost that one ourselves.”
Skipper Ryan Hoffman echoed his five-eighth’s remarks, saying the Warriors had beaten themselves through porous defending.
The team had been gifted a path back into the top eight after the Titans’ loss to Penrith on Saturday and failed to capitalise.
“We lapsed and didn’t have that desperation on the tryline,” Hoffman said.
“We didn’t make the Tigers work hard for a lot of tries.
“We had an opportunity and we didn’t want to grab it with two hands.”
Veteran winger Manu Vatuvei said he felt blank after the siren, knowing his side had thrown away a chance at victory.
All that was left to do was put in a good shift for the fans in next week’s dead rubber.
“All you have to do is look at the video to see what went wrong,” Vatuvei said.
“It comes down to little areas, errors and stuff, I’ve made a few errors out there.
“I’m just gutted at the moment.”