Warriors coach Nathan Brown singled out "certain individuals who really came up short" after a sluggish start cruelled his team against the Eels in Magic Round.
After conceding four tries inside the opening 20 minutes to trail 24-6 at half-time at Suncorp Stadium, whizz kid Reece Walsh had the New Zealand side looking poised to pull off a major comeback.
But, despite cutting the deficit to 10 points midway through the second term, Brown's boys eventually went down 34-18.
"It wasn’t the whole group, it was only a couple of blokes [who faltered]; in other weeks I could show you a different couple of blokes," Brown said.
"In all of our games against those top few sides, a little period in the first half has hurt us badly. A little chunk of five or 10 minutes has really killed us.
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"It's not about the points part, it's about the defence part of it. That's quite clearly where we're not quite capable at the moment
"We do really well at periods of times and today some of our [defensive] contacts were the best we've contacted all year. They're big, strong, athletic blokes and we had some really, really good contacts."
Brown saw other positives in the performance including the team's resilience to withstand "five or six sets" on their own line.
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"We certainly feel like we're making progress, but we do have this similar problem where it sometimes appears like we're not getting there," the coach added.
"We could never, earlier in the year, have defended the second half like we did off the back of having no ball.
"But we need to be able to learn to do it in the first half of the game when the opposition are really fresh, so the scoreboard doesn't put too much pressure on us."
Walsh, 18, starred with a try and three line breaks having come off the bench at fullback late in the first half after Rocco Berry suffered a head knock.
Brown has previously said he wasn't sure how to best utilise Walsh but confirmed he will continue to play him at the back with captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck selflessly shifting to the wing.
"That's our plan. Rog is more than happy to move," he said.
"It's not a real headache because Rog wants the club to do well and he knows the future of the club and Reece plays a big part in our future. But we want to win the games now as well, so it's probably a balancing act."
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