Warriors coach Nathan Brown thought the way his team reacted to Jazz Tevaga's 30th-minute sin-binning cost them a win over the Cowboys in Townsville on Friday night.
The Warriors looked set to overcome a 22-6 half-time deficit when they struck the lead with 15 minutes to go, but a late try to Cowboys flyer Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and a booming Valentine Holmes field goal gave the hosts a 29-28 victory at QCB Stadium.
While Chanel Harris-Tavita skewed what would have been a match-clinching one-pointer for the New Zealand club, Brown traced their downfall back to the period in which Tevaga was off the park.
Brown had no qualms about his lock being binned for a late shot on youngster Heilum Luki as the Cowboys scored twice with the extra man.
"The game was decided by the sin-binning - and it was a fair sin-binning. That's where the game was lost," Brown said.
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The mini-meltdown was in stark contrast to last week when the Warriors held firm in a win over the Wests Tigers despite having two players sin-binned 10 minutes apart in the second half. Down a man, they scored two tries and only conceded a pair of penalty goals.
"Today, we came up short with 12 [players] and we paid the price for it ... The sin-binning happened and we had some people that didn't handle it so well," Brown said.
"We had some people that didn't get some things quite right, which you need to get right at this level.
"Some players will watch that period and think, 'I just needed to work or do a little better or get to position quicker or attack that ball a little harder'. I could be sitting here a little happier now."
The Warriors have now gone down by a field goal twice this season having also lost 13-12 to the Sea Eagles in round five.
Experienced five-eighth Kodi Nikorima was off the field for a HIA in the dying stages but Brown was comfortable with 22-year-old Harris-Tavita being the man to take the snap regardless.
He also had no issue with his troops looking to score a try and waiting until the last tackle for the halfback to shoot for a field goal.
"We were in a fine position to kick a field goal 20 metres out; we just didn't nail it. And then Val showed you why he gets paid a million bucks, he kicked one from 40 metres out," Brown continued.
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Eighteen-year-old fullback Reece Walsh again set tongues wagging with two try assists and a runaway try in the second term.
The youngster ran for 230 metres and had four tackle breaks in another classy display which ignited the Warriors' second-half revival.
But as he's done in previous weeks, Brown tempered his praise for the rising star by pointing out he's still got much to improve in the way of "juice in his legs" and experience in the custodian's role.