"We just weren't good enough." Canberra Raiders acting captain Josh Hodgson summed it up after ill discipline hurt almost as much as the final scoreline.
The Melbourne Storm completely outclassed a depleted Green Machine, featuring Milton-Ulladulla product Jack Murchie playing his second NRL game, with a 44-10 thrashing in Melbourne on Saturday night.
The Raiders gave up 12 errors, 13 penalties and one sin-binning as Storm coach Craig Bellamy was afforded the luxury of taking both Cameron Smith and Billy Slater off for a rest.
It means a New Zealand Warriors win over the Gold Coast on Sunday will consign the Raiders to "mathematically possible" - eight points out of the top eight with five games remaining.
The Storm ran in seven tries to Canberra's two, with Hodgson saying they needed to have a look at themselves after the performance.
Melbourne remain on top of the NRL ladder and are building nicely towards the finals and a premiership defence.
"We just weren't good enough tonight. I think that's what it boils down to. [We have to] look at ourselves, we can't control outside things. We just weren't good enough," he said.
The Raiders got off to the worst possible start, with the loss of winger Michael Oldfield (knee) before kick off compounding the absence of host of stars.
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart revealed he'll be out for the rest of the season, joining captain Jarrod Croker (knee), Jack Wighton (suspension) and Ata Hingano (ankle) on the sidelines for the rest of the campaign.
Stuart was forced to swing the changes - Jordan Rapana and Joey Leilua were shifted to the left edge, Sia Soliola and Brad Abbey formed the right edge centre-wing combination, with Nick Cotric moving to fullback.
The Raiders coach said a lack of troops meant he was forced to name Oldfield to fill his 21-man squad even though he knew he wouldn't play.
Stuart said last week's controversial loss to Cronulla wasn't an excuse.
"I had to name a bloke this week who's out for six weeks, he's out for the season, I had to name him so I could cover the fact Sia was going to be playing in the centres," he said.
"But Michael Oldfield looks like being out for the season now. I had to name him to fill the 21."
Given their injury woes, Stuart said they needed to be perfect to have a chance against the Storm.
They certainly weren't that as they struggled with their discipline all night.
Felise Kaufusi, Cameron Munster, Suliasi Vunivalu, Cameron Scott (twice), Josh Addo-Carr and big bopper Nelson Asofa-Solomona all crossed, while Soliola and Leilua were the only try scorers for the visitors.
"We were going to have to be perfect tonight if we were going to win," Stuart said.
"The changes that we had - I had a couple of blokes out of position, I've got a front rower playing centre, so we knew that we were going to have to be very, very good and a lot of things were going to have to go our way if we were going to be a chance."
The Raiders now face a tough road trip to Penrith to face a Panthers outfit buoyed by a comeback victory over Manly.