The Warriors have fallen 26-12 to Cronulla in Auckland, reducing the Auckland-based side's hopes of qualifying for the NRL finals for the first time since 2011.
As has been customary for much of 2017, multiple errors and repeated knock-ons on Friday ultimately proved the Warriors' undoing.
Despite another decent showing up front, where the Warriors outran the Sharks with the ball, the defending premiers ran in four tries to two to cement their place in the top four with five regular-season games remaining.
The Warriors are on the precipice and will have to win their last five, which include tough matches against Canberra and Manly to have any chance of a top-eight finish.
Coach Stephen Kearney watched on as the Warriors again squandered chances and gifted the Sharks easy tries.
Kearney backed his process-driven approach, post-game, saying finals qualification was secondary to week-by-week improvement.
Yet his frustration with the side's simple errors was clear.
"The light's getting dimmer and dimmer, there's no doubt about that. But it's never been about that," Kearney said.
"It's been about improving from week to week, and the point I made to the group in the sheds afterwards is that's the most important part.
"We've got five games left. That's my focus for the players, my tip for them - to attach themselves to that process."
In a mostly tight first half, Ken Maumalo failed to judge a Sharks grubber kick and gave Kurt Capewell the easiest of tries after four minutes, before Mason Lino's 32nd-minute knock-on allowed Fa'amanu Brown to score.
The Sharks' first two tries - both against the run of play - sandwiched a juggling Solomone Kata intercept try in the 29th minute.
There was a brief Warriors rally in the second half, with Lino putting Bodene Thompson over to get his side back to within two points.
Former Warrior Sosaia Feki went over on the left edge in the 62nd minute, restoring the Sharks' eight-point buffer, before Jayson Bukuya capitalised on a Matt Prior line break to score the Sharks' fourth and wrap up the result.
Both teams will also have injury concerns, with Thompson suffering a shoulder injury and Brown taken off on a medicab after being knocked unconscious by a Sam Lisone high knee.
Lisone was placed on report.