Too many errors, a lack of intensity and "non-existent line-speed" at times cruelled the Wests Tigers in their loss to the Sharks, according to coach Michael Maguire.
Maguire acknowledged his team mainly had themselves to blame for the ugly 50-20 scoreline at Rockhampton's Browne Park.
Sitting in 13th place, their finals hopes now appear dashed with two matches to go and a poor points differential working against them.
"We put ourselves on the back-foot, but we could have fixed it very easily. But we needed to take control of the game," he said.
"We put too much pressure on ourselves in the first half with the amount of dropped ball and the errors.
"They [the Sharks] were probably going the same way, to be honest, and they were the ones that got hold of the game.
"The leaders of their team probably got a hold of things and we needed to be better in that department.
Match Highlights: Wests Tigers v Sharks
"We needed to get control and think about the long game rather than thinking about the immediate play."
Considering what was at stake, Maguire was rightly disappointed by what unfolded after the Tigers scored the first try.
"Did they think it was going to be easy, hard? I'm not quite sure. But it was obviously not the performance we definitely came here to put on, that's for sure," he said.
"[The pressure] is what you've got to handle when you play at this level. We've got a number of players that at times just ebbed and flowed. They needed to get the job done.
"It was really as simple as that."
Big shift right and Talau rolls over
While the Tigers were routinely ripped apart in the nine-tries-to-four defeat, they had a crucial call go against them in the second half.
Down 22-4, Adam Doueihi looked to have scored from a scrum but the Bunker awarded a penalty to Cronulla because Tigers forward Kelma Tuilagi prevented Teig Wilton from breaking and chasing.
"I'd have to have another look," Maguire said.
"Those sort of things go on all the time, they're 50-50 calls. I think every front-rower in the game is holding on to someone at some stage [in a scrum] but they decided to look at that one."
In better news, Maguire said five-eighth Doueihi "should be OK" to play in next Sunday's clash with the high-flying Panthers after leaving the field late in the match with a knee concern.
"The competition's still wide open, anything can happen, as you know, in the NRL," Maguire added.
"We've got to turn up prepared, ready to go. We're playing one of the best teams in the comp so it's going to give us a good opportunity to have a crack at them."