The Warriors are searching for answers with coach Stephen Kearney admitting his side switched off mentally in yesterday's dire 36-28 NRL defeat to Penrith.
Kearney was at a loss to explain his side's stunning second-half collapse that saw the visitors concede five second-half tries to blow a 22-point half-time lead as the Panthers roared to life to claim their first win in six starts.
The Warriors had no answer to the Panthers hard-running enthusiasm, with rawboned back-rower Isaah Yeo leading the way in exposing their brittle defence out wide.
Yeo had a field day repeatedly surging through the turnstile tackling of right edge forward Bodene Thompson and halfback Shaun Johnson to score two tries and create another for centre Waqa Blake. Kiwis wing Dallin Watene-Zelezniak later embarrassed Thompson and Ryan Hoffman, as he burst downfield in the lead-up to Tyrone Peachey's match-winning try four minutes from fulltime.
The result appeared inevitable as early as the 53rd minute, after Watene-Zelezniak scored off a Nathan Cleary cross-field kick, with the Warriors almost conceding defeat despite still clinging to a 28-18 lead.
Hesitation and indecision spread through their line-up like a virus, leading to uncharacteristic defensive misses and handling errors from captain and fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who played perhaps the worst 40 minutes of his career in his 100th NRL game.
"Very disappointing," said Kearney.
"The Panthers really turned up the intensity in the second-half and we just couldn't match it which was the disappointing part.
"We just couldn't go with them."
After dominating territory and possession to run in five first-half tries the Warriors let the foot off the throat and started the second-half in cruise mode.
Despite reinforcing the need to be clinical they lacked urgency and spent the majority of the second-half camped down in their own red zone.
"We spoke about it at halftime, making sure we maintained the pressure and the intensity that we played at in the first half," said Kearney.
"We spoke about it but we just didn't deliver on the actions. So when you give a side like the Panthers a breath and space to grow like they did in the second-half, you're asking for trouble, and I just didn't think we responded well enough."
Tuivasa-Sheck could not explain their drop in effort and concerning lack of belief and admits they struggled mentally and failed to lift when it was needed.
"We were all out there saying the right things, we just couldn't deliver on the actions," said Tuivasa-Sheck.
"It was tough mentally just try and get the boys back into it and just try to forget about the quick tries and get back into what we were doing."
The result sees the Warriors slip down to 12th place on the premiership ladder after their sixth loss from 10 games. They are yet to win on the road this season, having gone down to the Bulldogs in Dunedin and in three other matches across the Tasman.
They will need to buck that trend if they are to get their campaign back on track when they take on St George Illawarra in Hamilton next Friday.
"We didn't help ourselves today, particularly with the second-half, so I don't think that's a matter of the process and our travel for away games," said Kearney.
"We mentally switched off, or whatever the case was in that second-half, it's not good enough."