There has been no shortage of frustrating results for New Zealand Warriors this year.
But coach Nathan Brown reckons the 28-16 loss to Canberra that ended their NRL finals hopes summed up their season.
The Warriors looked on track to sabotage the Raiders’ top-eight plans when they raced to a 16-0 lead after 24 minutes in Mackay on Friday night, needing just 39 seconds to open the scoring with a Sean O’Sullivan try.
Remarkably, they didn’t trouble the scorers again as Canberra raced in five unanswered tries – including two in the last two minutes – to stay in the top-eight hunt.
The Warriors’ cause wasn’t helped by form playmaker Chad Townsend succumbing to a shoulder injury in the 48th minute.
Townsend, who links with North Queensland next year, is in serious doubt for next week’s regular season finale against Gold Coast.
But Brown wasn’t making any excuses after the Warriors lost their eighth game this year by six points or less to slump to an 8-15 record.
“That probably summed our season up. We were up 16-0 and then it was 16-16,” Brown said.
“Once Chad Townsend came off, the way we managed the second half we didn’t do very well at all.
“Our kicking game fell apart and if we did get a kick away, we gave away a penalty.
“And then, as has been the case this year with three or four minutes to go and the scores level, we have a shot at a field goal and never seem able to get it.”
Livewire fullback Reece Walsh sprayed a 77th minute field goal attempt with the scores locked up at 16-16 but in the end it hardly mattered as Canberra finished with a wet sail.
“It (field goal) probably wasn’t the right play because we were 40 metres out,” Brown said.
“An experienced team probably would have put the ball high into the corner and tried to defend the set.
“But we’ve got a bit of work to do, not commitment-wise, just a bit of work to do in the key parts of games.”
Meanwhile, Matt Lodge was placed on report for a hip drop in a 24th minute tackle while teammate Bunty Afoa was booked for a 71st minute high shot.