Leeds Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield admitted the absence of head coach Richard Agar was a disruption but it was not the reason they fell to a 26-14 to Catalans Dragons.
Agar was stood down, alongside assistant coach Jamie Jones-Buchanan, last week due to Track and Trace with James Webster and the newly appointed Sean Long assuming control for the playoff elimination semi-final against the Dragons.
It was a tough night for the Rhinos in Warrington as they failed to recover from a poor start that also saw them lose props Ava Seumanufagai and Mikołaj Olędzki to game-ending injuries.
“It has not been easy not having Richard Agar around but there are no excuses from us,” said Sinfield.
“The three that we had to do without for this period of time, one had tested positive and obviously, our thoughts were to ensure he was fit and healthy and his family were looked after.
“Both Richard and Jamie were ruled out through track and trace and there was a huge amount of disappointment with that but we understand there are a set of laws out there we all have to abide by.
“Richard and Jamie are obviously role models so, unfortunately, we had to do it tough without them.
“Sean (Long) was always going to be in this week. It was always planned but it is just a shame Richard was not there with them, on top of Jamie and James as well.
“It did cause a little bit of disruption but we lost the game tonight because we gave up an 18 point start I thought.”
The result means Leeds have failed to make a Super League Grand Final for the third year in a row.
The match itself was perhaps marred with multiple challenges from Catalans players which brought about an angry response from several members of the Rhinos squad.
However, drawing on his own personal experience, Sinfield offered a different outlook on things and focused on the exciting future that lies ahead for the club.
He added: “We have had some experience in play-off rugby before. Things that would have normally been penalties in the season are not normally penalties in these types of games.
“I understand any frustration from the players, with no excuses at all tonight. The overriding feeling is that I am really proud of where the club is at. Especially these last 12-18 months.
“It has been a difficult road. I thought we had a real go tonight but we just gave ourselves too much to do.”