Warriors coach Stephen Kearney admitted the game management from his side in the final quarter of their 28-24 loss to Souths was non-existent after they lost Blake Green in the warm-up with a groin injury.
Green's late scratching forced a major reshuffle in the Warriors line-up just minutes before they were due to take the field at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Kearney didn't use the chief playmaker's absence as an excuse for conceding three late tries to hand the Rabbitohs victory but was rather left disappointed that none of his senior players took control.
"I couldn't fault the effort but I thought we weren't that smart at the back end of sets in the second half," Kearney said.
"When we got 12 points ahead we had to manage the game more effectively. We didn't do that so well and that was frustrating.
"I reckon we had enough occasions to manage the game properly but just failed to do so. That's the NRL, you've got to work to the final whistle. Sixty-minute efforts don't get you the win."
Kiwi international Gerard Beale slotted into the backline while Peta Hiku combined with rookie playmaker Chanel Harris-Tavita, playing in just his second NRL game, in the halves.
Kearney conceded he wasn't sure whether Harris-Tavita made the right decision opting for a field goal with five minutes left on the clock, which sailed wide and gave the Rabbitohs a seven-tackle set.
Match Highlights: Rabbitohs v Warriors
"I'm not 100 per cent sure if that was the right play but he took it upon himself to go after it and I will always back him for that," Kearney said.
"If you miss, it's a seven-tackle set and all of a sudden you're on your tryline trying to keep the game alive.
"He's a brave young kid and I thought we could've made it a lot easier for him prior to getting it to that stage."
The Warriors will provide an update on the extent of Green's injury in coming days but it's considered to be a minor issue.
"He was a chance before the game but we didn't want to take the risk," Kearney said.
"We'll see how he pulls up over the next couple of days and go from there."
Tuivasa-Sheck slices through for the opener
The Warriors are 2-3 to start the season with Kearney labelling the performances as a "mixed bag" ahead of their clash against North Queensland next week.
"We opened up with a good win at home and then had a couple of by our standards poor performances against the Tigers and Manly," Kearney said.
"Considering the circumstances losing Blake today I thought we managed quite well but weren't smart enough to finish them off.
"You've got to move on to the challenge next week."