Kangaroos coach Simon Petelo has questioned his team's attitude and admitted he'll have to look at the way he operates in order to salvage the Dubbo side's 2019 season.
The Roos suffered yet another close-fought Blowes Clothing Cup loss on Saturday, going down 36-29 to Orange Emus after being all-square with the defending premiers with 10 minutes to go.
As has been the case numerous times in the first six rounds of the season, lapses in concentration and some unfavourable decisions resulted in the Roos being beaten in the final few minutes.
The scores were locked at 22-all heading into the final 10 minutes but a quickfire double to Emus centre Lachie Harris - the first of which involved a questionable pass in the build-up - meant Anthony Golding's last minute effort was in vain as the greens ran out victors.
"We can't manage to close games down and in a competition like this with teams like this we're not mentally there yet," Roos coach Petelo said.
"At the moment we're really struggling."
While the Roos are failing at finishing games, for the bulk of Saturday's match they were up for the contest.
Emus started the better at No. 1 Oval and after banging through the middle with their renowned forward pack, they opened the scoring via a Charlie Henley try.
Tries flowed quickly then, Tim Beach crossing yet again for the Roos before Tom Green snagged a simple intercept and Rob Thorburn crashed over, but then the hosts started to take control as Emus' discipline failed them.
The visitors gave away a string of penalties and the Roos, off the back of a strong rolling maul, scored twice through hard-working hooker Chris O'Shea to lead 22-19 at the break.
Emus also had Green sin-binned shortly before half-time but the visitors still scored first in the second stanza, a penalty from captain Nigel Staniforth locking things up.
The game became an enthralling arm wrestle and both sides had their chances in the final quarter, with Roos winger Beach having a second try disallowed after a forward pass ruling.
With nine minutes remaining another forward pass call went against the Roos, this time during an Emus attacking raid, and the greens played the whistle. After some quick hands Harris came bursting onto the ball and through a hole before racing away to score an all-important try.
Harris grabbed a second in similar fashion soon after to confirm the bonus point and a fourth win from seven games.
"Good teams know how to do that and know how to execute and we're not up to that level yet," Petelo said after Emus stayed patient and sealed the win late on.
"We're leading most of the game but maybe the coaches need to look at things like how we work our bench to make it a complete 80 minutes."
Petelo may have described Emus as clinical for the way they finished the game but the greens were anything but in the first half.
Staniforth was visibly frustrated during the first 40 as his side failed at the breakdown time and time again.
"They (Roos) stuck at it and have got a good system they've clearly worked on and we were a bit dumb. Too many penalties," he said of the first half.
"We've just got to leave the ball and readjust but four times from kick-offs after scoring a try we'd make a big error and let them straight back in.
"We talked at half-time and luckily adjusted and if we didn't we wouldn't have won."
Henley, heading into the weekend as one of the top point-getters in in the Central West Player of the Year race, was again among his side's best alongside fellow Emus Rob Thorburn and Scott McLean.
The loss for the Roos was compounded by a lower leg injury to hooker Ned Williams while captain Shaun McHugh suffered a similar injury but was able to finish the game.
- ORANGE EMUS 36 (Lachie Harris 2, Charlie Henley, Tom Green, Rob Thorburn tries; Nigel Staniforth 4 conversions, penalty) def DUBBO KANGAROOS 29 (Chris O'Shea 2, Tim Beach, Anthony Golding tries; Hamish Gordon 3 conversions, penalty)