Brandon Smith says Melbourne Storm’s last two performances have been embarrassing and they need to bounce back strongly against Manly.
The Storm are priced at 3/1 to win the 2022 NRL grand final but they will need to improve on their last two performances if they are to win the premiership.
The Storm are without key players Jahrome Hughes and Ryan Papenhuyzen and they have been sorely missed during heavy defeats against Penrith and North Queensland.
However Smith says that cannot be used as an excuse and Melbourne have let their standards slip in the last two games. Coach Craig Bellamy has been far from happy and Smith wants to cheer him up.
"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 told reporters. "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."
Before the back-to-back defeats Melbourne had been blitzing the opposition. They put on 167 points in three games, a record for the NRL. And Smith feels they may have started to get a bit complacent.
"It's definitely a wake-up call," he added. "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."