The Tigers looked lifeless as they capitulated 32-6 to a rampant South Sydney side making a serious charge for the minor premiership.
Coming up against a Rabbitohs outfit missing gun hooker Issac Luke and superstar fullback Greg Inglis, the Tigers were meant to be a fair chance of strengthening their finals aspirations.
Instead they fell apart in front of 29,683 fans, unable to overcome their own personnel losses that included fullback Tim Moltzen and centre Chris Lawrence.
On top of that, Sheens said his players were guilty of having one eye on the draw and were praying for results to go their way rather than focusing 100 per cent on game day.
Sheens said it came down to desperation - something the Gold Coast, who moved into eighth spot with Friday night's win over the Sydney Roosters, have been playing with for nearly two months.
"It's amazing the strength you (can) find when you're in that position," Sheens said.
"Gold Coast and others are playing with that desperation (and a) 'we've got to win, we've got to win' mentality.
"That's where we're at now."
The Tigers have slipped outside the top eight on for-and-against, with captain Robbie Farah admitting they were now chasing the pack - and no longer in control of their own destiny.
Farah lamented the below-par performance, singling out himself and makeshift halves partner Benji Marshall, who scored a late consolation try, for criticism.
As the Tigers' two best players, many expected their union would ensure the attack did not skip a beat.
It could not have been further from the case, the Tigers playing too much side-to-side football and struggling to create chances.
"We just didn't play the way we liked (to)," Farah admitted.
"That's probably the worst game I've played in a long time and I don't think Benji would be too happy with his game.
"We control that team (and) touch the ball the most out of any other player and when we play poorly, we're not going to win games.
"I've been around a while and thought I could handle it (positional changes) but obviously I didn't do as well as I would have liked."
Moltzen (hamstring) and prop Keith Galloway (shoulder) could be available for the next clash against Parramatta, but Sheens warned that wouldn't be an instant solution.
"We're not going to offer any excuses. We just weren't good enough today," a dejected Sheens said.
"People tried hard but we didn't work together as a unit ... it was pretty disappointing."