Panthers coach Anthony Griffin has lamented his team's poor discipline and ball control as they let victory slip through their grasp against the Cowboys in Townsville on Saturday.
Penrith defended superbly for much of the contest but gave up far too much possession to North Queensland in the second half and were ultimately undone by a spectacular try to a leaping Kyle Feldt from a Michael Morgan bomb.
"It's just disappointing because a hell of a lot of effort went into that game from both sides," Griffin said.
"It was a really draining game and we'd just about done enough, as poor as we were with discipline with the ball we'd just about done enough but they were good enough with that kick at the end.
"It just had that feel about it all day, it was going to go down to the wire and penalties and lack of possession in that last 10 minutes paid off [for them]."
Penrith captain Matt Moylan was disappointed in his team's performance, noting that they were lucky to get away with their last-start victory against the Canberra Raiders in another poor display with ball in hand and that a repeat performance was always likely to cost them.
"I think we just had to complete our sets better, that was probably the frustrating thing, we sort of did it to ourselves against Canberra. We were able to get away with it against them but we learnt our lesson today," Moylan said.
"Just fundamental stuff, dropping the ball in the play-the-ball, little things like that sort of came back to bite us."
The Panthers' goal-line defence was strong until the Cowboys scored, but it's little consolation for Moylan.
"I think we've just got to limit that defence, we were doing too much today, we turned over too much ball and were defending our line," Moylan said.