The Parramatta Eels bounced back from their heavy defeat a week ago to show some resilience against the Cowboys on Saturday but coach Brad Arthur said his side still lacked that polish to seal a victory.
He is also concerned at the Eels lacklustre on-the-road form.
"The effort was great, the attitude to our performance was really positive, but some big moments in the game let us down. It proved costly in the end," said Arthur after the Eels traded a 54-point defeat last week to Storm, for a seven-point defeat to the Cowboys, 17-10.
But handling errors and last play options didn't help their cause either. The Eels racked up 12 errors to the Cowboys eight.
"There's a couple of moments at the end, when we got the ball and attacking the try line, we probably needed to be prepared to try and build some pressure and get another set."
The Eels play the Panthers next week at Bankwest Stadium, which has been kind to Arthur's men so far winning both matches there against the Wests Tigers and Dragons.
Match Highlights: Cowboys v Eels
But the coach said winning away from home has proved difficult - they are 2-4 so far.
"We haven't been great on the road and talked about it. We just got to make sure they get ready to go again next week with the same effort.
"You've got to be prepared to build pressure and get some more ball.
"We had a chance to win that game and we let ourselves down at the back-end with a couple of moments in the game that we didn't quite get right, some dumb moments really."
The Eels are struggling to hold onto their top-eight spot following the back-to-back losses.