Rabbitohs back-rower Ethan Lowe.

It was a case of Groundhog Day for the Rabbitohs as they fell at the preliminary final hurdle again and coach Wayne Bennett was in no mood to declare the season a success despite coming within one game of a grand final.

Given they were dealt a tough hand with a crippling post-Origin injury toll, some will say the Bunnies did well to even reach the prelim final but Bennett lamented his side's poor execution in the 16-10 loss to Canberra.

Even with the home side down to 12 men after Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was sin-binned with 10 minutes to go the Rabbitohs were unable to get across the stripe until a consolation try to Campbell Graham which came too late.

Throughout the game's lead-in Bennett made a point of Canberra's one-on-one stripping prowess, yet Souths still fell victim on several occasions before going to water in the final 10 minutes.

Injuries to representative stars Sam Burgess, Dane Gagai, James Roberts, Alex Johnston and Adam Reynolds have plagued the Rabbitohs this year, but Bennett was not beating around the bush in his assessment.

Asked if it was still a successful season, Bennett said: "Not really. They were here this time last year and they failed.

"We were here again tonight and if we had executed and lost I wouldn’t have been a lot happier with that. [The Raiders are] there now and they’ve got every opportunity in the world to win it."

The painful preliminary final exit marks the end of John Sutton's career and George Burgess's time in red and green, with the latter a surprise axing before kick-off for Bulldogs-bound prop Dean Britt.

For the rest of Bennett's squad it is a matter of so near and yet so far yet again after falling to eventual premiers the Roosters this time last year.

Neither the Raiders or Rabbitohs were at their best in Canberra, but for Bennett the 'attention to detail' when defending their own line was the killer.

"It falls back on pressure, it falls back on attention to detail," Bennett said.

"They got two tries off kicks, we dropped the ball on the tryline. We lost another ball in the air, there was a contested ball that could've gone either way.

"That's the type of stuff in these type of games that really hurts."