Brandon Smith has described Melbourne's recent form as "embarrassing" after North Queensland handed them their biggest loss during his time at the NRL club and their worst in nine years.
The Storm crashed to a 36-6 defeat in Townsville - their second straight drubbing after being steamrolled by 26 points against premiers Penrith.
They have to quickly regroup with a Thursday night AAMI Park clash against Manly, and Melbourne could still be without star halfback Jahrome Hughes, who has a troublesome calf injury.
He sits alongside fellow heavyweights Ryan Papenhuyzen, Reimis Smith, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Christian Welch and George Jennings in the Melbourne casualty ward.
Like many teams, Melbourne have also had flu run rampant through the club.
Despite being down on man power - which required playing Harry Grant out of position at halfback while Smith, usually an interchange forward, took his place as hooker - Smith said the Storm needed to be better.
"We've got a few people missing but that's not an excuse for the two performances we put up. I think they're quite embarrassing," Smith said on Monday.
"They're not what we're about at the Storm.
"We're going to do some training on our defence and try to make Craig (Bellamy) a little bit happier than he was after the game.
"We've got to be better than what we dished up."
Smith said Melbourne should have been able to take advantage of the Cowboys losing two key players with injuries in Jason Taumalolo and Kyle Feldt but instead felt the "wheels fell off" in the second half.
The slump follows Melbourne scoring 162 points in three games to break an 87-year-old competition record for the highest scoring tally through nine rounds.
Smith questioned whether the team had started taking wins for granted.
"It's definitely a wake-up call," he told AAP.
"That's the worst loss I've ever copped in a purple jersey and we've done two in a row.
"I think we might have got a little too ahead of ourselves, thinking that all teams are going to roll over and you can put 40 on them.
"It's better that it's come this week than a week before finals."
While Bellamy said post-match the Grant experiment at No.7 didn't work, Smith felt there was merit in the switch if they needed to do it again against the Sea Eagles.
"I trust Craig's judgment over mine," Smith said.
"But we trained well with him there and I thought for a person who has never done that before ... he held his own."
Australian Associated Press
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