Dragons coach Anthony Griffin says his side can't afford to keep handing cheap chances to their opponents but believes his side is still in the hunt for the 2021 finals despite slipping to 11th with a nightmare run home.
The Dragons looked in control early against Canberra, leading 8-0 after 20 minutes and 12-6 after 30 before being held scoreless in the second half to lose 20-12.
They handed their opponents too many easy scoring opportunities and are now long odds to play finals this year with three of their final four games coming against top-five sides.
"The season's not over but it's been hard ever since magic round, we haven't been able to put our best side out. We lost our captain (Ben Hunt to a broken arm) last week but again tonight we had an opportunity to win that game," Griffin said.
"The errors in our own end, the way they got their points in the first half, they got them so easy or against the run of play," he said.
Match Highlights: Raiders v Dragons
"We didn't clean up two kicks on last play. Apart from the try by the hooker (Tom Starling) in the second half I thought they did a really good job defending their line all night and I thought we didn't deserve to lose tonight effort-wise, but we have to be smarter coming out of our own end.
"Three or four errors in the second half, invited the opposition down, penalties in the first half. I feel for them because they threw a helluva lot of effort into that game but we just did enough to lose it."
Despite losing four on the bounce amid a flurry of suspensions since Paul Vaughan's ill-fated barbeque, Griffin said that was not the reason for the current predicament.
"Obviously it hasn't helped but I'm more worried about what we do next week," he said.
"I thought tonight the team we put out there did a magnificent job for most of the night.
"The opposition was obviously very good, it had that finals feel about it, both teams were up for it but they just got their points too easy, a dummy half try and two kick tries and to their credit they defended their own line really well in the second half and didn't give us a sniff there.
"There was a helluva lot of good things in that performance tonight which we can build on, we've got everyone available now except for Ben Hunt.
"[Josh] Kerr and [Gerard] Beale and Tyrell [Fuimaono] are available next week so that will help to build on tonight but it was just a difficult one.
"I thought even til late in the game we had opportunities to win the game, we weren't quite good enough and as the game got longer they zeroed in on it and paced it out, to their credit."