Paul McGregor lamented a lack of mental strength and inconsistencies in several of the side's younger players after St George Illawarra slumped to their eighth loss of the season on Sunday.
The Dragons shot out of the blocks for an 8-0 lead against the Sea Eagles with NSW forwards Paul Vaughan and Tyson Frizell, along with firebrand Korbin Sims bringing the energy early.
But the Sea Eagles went up an extra gear themselves as the Dragons fell away in the final 60 minutes to lose by 20 points, a notion that left McGregor questioning some of his other players' efforts in the beaten side.
"We just don't want to work hard enough for it, we want the easy before the hard," McGregor said.
"It doesn't matter if they're young or old, you've got to want the hard first. I don't think our interchange come out and done that.
"At the end of the day we were overworked and overpowered. To back up with a poor performance after last week was disappointing."
Match Highlights: Sea Eagles v Dragons
The loss of Cameron McInnes in the first half didn't help the side's cause and the Sea Eagles gain the ascendency immediately after the Dragons No.9 went off the field.
Rookie utility Reece Robson replaced McInnes at dummy half but came up with a couple of costly errors.
"We lost Cam in that 22-minute mark and his experience around the middle we lost our way," McGregor said.
"We missed five [starting players] today. The players that are missing are key players in our team and then we lose Cam but that's rugby league. We've got to deal with that.
"I always say to the young guys it's a really good opportunity to see what you've got and what we're seeing is not good enough. When you're playing in a jumper and in the 17 you have to want the hard stuff."
McGregor said McInnes was OK but felt like an idiot for getting his head caught in the wrong position on impact.