Parramatta coach Brad Arthur was left frustrated by a number of stoppages in play when he felt his side were on the front foot during a gripping 8-6 loss to Penrith in Mackay on Saturday night.
A shattered Arthur said the Panthers "got what they were after from the back of whingeing" in recent weeks and lamented the fact the game was halted at critical times.
Play was stopped late in the game as the Eels were on the attack when Panthers trainer Pete Green signalled to referee Ashley Klein that hooker Mitch Kenny was in distress 20 metres away from the action.
"[We're] trying to make the game faster and how many stoppages were there tonight? How many? When we were starting to get on top," Arthur said.
"There was a lot. [Then] we make a line break from the backfield, we get down there, Will Penisini gets tackled off the ball, Mitch Moses is running down there on the chase and gets tackled in the background off the ball.
Match Highlights: Panthers v Eels
"There's been a bit of complaining over the last couple of weeks. They [Penrith] got what they were after from the back of the whingeing.
"It might've helped them tonight but that's all right, I'm proud of the boys. I don't know if we deserved that result but that's footy, it's the way it goes.
"There's a lot of really disappointed guys in our shed, actually they're shattered, because they really wanted that.
"We'll just get on with it and go again next year."
Halfback Mitchell Moses lamented his side's inability to crack Penrith's defence, which stood tall in the final 10 minutes of an epic contest.
Moses was enormous for the second successive week but will be left with another off-season to ponder an Eels semi-final exit.
"They're a great side. Their line speed is for 80 minutes and they give you nothing," Moses told Channel Nine post-match.
"We had a little chance down the left side but they scrambled so well. We were coming off the tryline the whole game.
"We made too many errors coming out of the backfield. It just hurt us. It's a hard one to take."
Arthur happy with performance but displeased with missed infringements
Both Moses and Arthur added there were positives to take out of the season, including their ability to fight back from a four-game losing streak in August.
"That's a good testament to their character and that was what was talked about down there [in the sheds]," Arthur said.
"We dug a bit of a hole but we dug ourselves out of it. If we haven't got a strong group or club that doesn't happen."
Arthur said he wasn't fazed by talk about his coaching future, despite the fact that Parramatta's premiership drought has now stretched to 35 years.
"It's been eight years that it's talked about me but it's not about me, it's about the club and the team," he said.
"That's part of my job as coach to just roll with it. It doesn't bother me."