Penrith prop James Tamou concedes players had one eye on next week's representative round in their 32-6 loss to the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Friday night.
The Panthers were no match in the one-sided contest as the Roosters clicked into gear for one of their more dominating performances of the Telstra Premiership season.
While Tamou admitted it was an off night, he believed the hot topic of the Holden State of Origin series was another challenge for the team.
"You don't want to put it down to it but sometimes minds wander and you get too far ahead instead of a game," Tamou told NRL.com after the clash.
"It's a tough period this year with all the rep footy going on, for these representative players just to find the motivation after a big game during the week.
"I think the way they're doing it now with a Sunday game will help a lot but even then, going in I think people's minds think about what's going on after and who's going to get picked.
"Next thing you know the game gets away from you and you end up with a scoreline like that."
Penrith could lose up to 10 players to both NSW and Pacific nations next week, adding to the loss of incumbent Blues prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard to a suspected broken jaw.
"We have to weather the storm with what's going on and get over this rep period unscathed and look to re-program and conquer what we started," Tamou said.
The former NSW and Australian prop added winning away has been an issue for the side, but it was an important hurdle to overcome in the second half of the season.
"Yeah, it is and can be if you let it," Tamou said.
"We come in, stayed the night and prepared well. I don't mind Allianz but it does play a factor.
"You're out of your comfort zone and routine but that's part of it. You have to find a median and the top teams play well away.
"That's why they play grand finals."
Panthers coach Anthony Griffin admitted the depleted side were taught a lesson.
"The first six minutes was a good grind and we throw that intercept and the whole game turns on its head," Griffin said.
"At times we fought our way back into it but in the end they were just too good and had too much ball.
"We weren't where we needed to be. It was a lesson learnt for us, the game was always going away from us but they kept coming the younger guys.
"It was probably what we did to the Dragons a couple of weeks ago."
Griffin added the Panthers were likely to accommodate the loss of Campbell-Gillard with forwards Viliame Kikau [knee] and Moses Leota [pectoral] set to return in round 16.