Coach Michael Maguire believes the Wests Tigers threw away a win against the Warriors but backed his team's call to kick two penalty goals when they had an extra man on Friday night.
The Tigers led three times but went down 30-26 at Central Coast Stadium, almost stealing victory on the last play.
They couldn't land a knockout blow despite the Warriors having Ben Murdoch-Masila (55th-minute professional foul) and Eliesa Katoa (65th-minute dangerous tackle) sin-binned.
Adam Doueihi kicked a penalty goal to level the scores at 16-16 when Murdoch-Masila was pinged and the Tigers opted to add another two points from a penalty six minutes later instead of attempting to score a try with the numerical advantage.
"The boys felt that was the right thing, along with myself," Maguire said of the second penalty goal.
"So you go with it, you've got to back that. We had an opportunity in the back end of the game. We've got to be able to defend off our errors."
Nofoaluma dives on a Montoya mistake
Wayde Egan touched down for the Warriors in the 68th minute with Marcelo Montoya all but sealing the match shortly afterwards.
Tigers prop James Tamou crossed in the dying stages before the visitors nearly pulled off a great escape when they created a right-edge overlap after the siren, but it ended with an error.
"It was a game that I believe we should have got. That's what hurts. I've got a playing group that believes the same thing," Maguire added.
Tamou gives the Wests Tigers hope
"We squandered opportunities and let in some tries that shouldn't have been let in. Back to work.
"We definitely shouldn't have put ourselves in that position [trying to win the game on the last play] with the opportunities we had."
After beating Newcastle comprehensively in Magic Round, the Tigers are still yet to record back-to-back wins in 2021. Maguire remains optimistic.
"We as a group need to find a way to be able to stop simple little decision-making errors that we're making. Sometimes it's from an error, the turnover, the speed at which you transition to be able to get into position," he said.
"All those sorts of things we need to look at. It's tough because we all put in a lot of work like everyone is. Every team's doing the same.
"You can see the effort is definitely there. And the hurt at the end, the passion for what the club means to them."
Warriors rookie Reece Walsh proved the difference as the 18-year-old fullback set up three tries – including Montoya's match-clincher – and scored one himself.
"We knew what he was capable of and I think everyone can see how special he will be," Maguire said.
Match Highlights: Warriors v Wests Tigers