New Zealand Warriors coach Andrew McFadden and captain Simon Mannering have offered no excuses for their performance against the Newcastle Knights on Sunday after going down 28-22 at Hunter Stadium.
Missing an opportunity to have moved up to fifth place if they had won, the Warriors had no answers for an early Newcastle onslaught, though they did well to keep themselves in the game having come back from 14-0 down to 14-all just after halftime.
With Newcastle failing to complete just four of their 32 sets throughout the game, Mannering had no excuses for his team's lacklustre performance despite a lopsided penalty count also favouring the home side 9-5.
"The majority of our penalties were poor discipline but that is no excuse as to how we played," Mannering told reporters after the game.
"They deserved to win. We had our chances at the end but unfortunately we couldn't get over – but we'll be back into it next week."
McFadden agreed with his captain but denied his team were complacent heading into the game.
"We knew that it was never going to be in the bag instantly," McFadden said.
"We knew that when we came here that the opposition were going to have a real go. They have shown that over the past month of football and they were just a little bit too good for us.
"It was five tries all but they kicked more goals. We certainly had a go but we conceded too many points in the end."
Asked where the Warriors went wrong, McFadden noted his team made more metres and line breaks and made fewer tackles than their opposition.
"We didn't sustain any pressure on the opposition in any period of the game. Every time we started to build some momentum we would come up with an error or give away a penalty," McFadden said.
"Our discipline was really poor today. We gave up nine penalties and I don't think they made an error in the second half either so they certainly capitalised on any ball they had."
With the Warriors still in with a sniff of making the top four, they will be looking to improve on their run home against the Roosters, Titans and Panthers.
Mannering didn't expect he would have to sit out any of these games, saying he "didn't think much of" a high tackle that saw him placed on report.