Raiders coach Ricky Stuart blamed a poor attacking display and a terrible mid-season form slump for Canberra's failure to make the finals after his team's season-ending 40-16 defeat at the hands of the Roosters on Thursday night.
Stuart said his team didn't deserve to play finals football if they couldn't beat an injury-hit Roosters side, saying the Raiders would be "wasting their time" remaining in Queensland if they had made the play-offs.
The Raiders needed to win to break into the top eight in the final round of the season but after opening the scoring and leading 12-6 midway through the first half they were blown away in the final 60 minutes of the contest.
"It's an empty feeling. It's a shocking feeling," Stuart said after the game.
"I think that we're a better team than where we've ended up on the table. But we are where we are.
"It's all because of the middle part of the season when we had a real bad slump. We lost all our mojo and form and I think we were two from 12."
Match Highlights: Raiders v Roosters
After going into round 25 in ninth place, the Raiders could have snuck into the finals with a win but Stuart said Thursday's result showed they wouldn't have made much of an impact in the knockout stages had they qualified.
"I'm not being disrespectful to the Roosters, they've had a tough year and done really well to get where they are, but if we can't beat that team tonight, we'd be wasting our time being up here [for the finals]," he said.
"If we couldn't beat that team, we'd just be waiting another week to get beaten."
Stuart said poor attacking options cost Canberra the game, and defended winger Semi Valemei who had a rough night with five errors.
"We were really poor tonight, really poor," Stuart said.
"I can't blame our defence tonight, our attack was dreadful.
"Poor old Semi had a tough night, and he's a better player than that. I'd pick him for first grade again next week.
"In the second half we just took so many wrong options in attack. We didn't give ourselves the chance to attack because we took the wrong options with the football."