Eels captain Jarryd Hayne says their wasteful backline let down the team's big men in Friday night's disappointing 32-12 defeat to the Rabbitohs, before claiming they had neither the "talent nor experience of other teams".
In a week where coach Brad Arthur challenged his team to embrace the physicality of South Sydney's high-rolling engine room, Hayne applauded the team's rising school of forwards for taking it to their more-decorated opposition.
Where Parramatta lost the game, Hayne said, was when they failed to convert their good field position onto the scoreboard.
This was no more evident than in winger Vai Toutai's bombed try just after half-time that would've levelled the game at 10-all.
"It was obviously tough. We probably missed a lot of opportunities tonight," Hayne said post-game.
"Our forwards really aimed up with the forward pack that they had. Our forwards dominated tonight and us backs could've been better. And I think it was typified by not scoring that try."
Arthur refused to single out Toutai's horror night – opposition winger Alex Johnston also bagged a brace – for the defeat, but was adamant execution needed immediate improvement.
"Like I said to them after the game, I couldn't walk into there and spray 'em because they tried their hardest. They did, they put their bodies on the line and they were very physical," Arthur said.
"Like Jarryd said, the forwards done a really good job. You've got to remember we're playing a top-four side there.
"I was happy with the effort, but we just need to find a way to be a little bit better with our execution and finish some of our movements off that our forwards created."
Whether that happens in time for one last finals push remains a mystery, although Hayne conceded that the current squad was already playing above its ability.
"We're definitely disappointed to let that slip tonight and let the score blow out. From where we are, the experience that we have, and the youth that we've got, I think we're definitely playing above our potential," he said.
"We've got five of our starters out [and] we've got almost three quarters of a million dollars of talent that's left the club that we're still paying for. You put that on any team and see how they go.
"For us to show up the way we did, to really go toe to toe with Souths until the last 10-15 minutes was really impressive.
"We've just got to be more crisp. We're not going to get a lot of opportunities down our opponent's ends because we don't got the talent or the experience of other teams. For us, we just want to set our standards higher every week and just gotta be more fluent in our attack."
The defeat extended Parramatta's season-high losing streak to four, and they are now in danger of falling as low as 13th by the end of the round.