Ryan Papenhuyzen admits Melbourne are still adjusting to life without long-time leader Cameron Smith calling the shots after their frailty was exposed in their last round NRL loss.
The Storm had a chance to level in their clash with Parramatta, with a full attacking set and over a minute to play, but without Smith deciding the play centre Justin Olam bizarrely rolled the dice on the second tackle and turned over the ball with the team falling 16-12.
Post match coach Craig Bellamy said his players need to learn to keep composed without retired Smith at the helm, which Papenhuyzen backed.
“Craig said we need to take more responsibility on ourselves to get those key messages across during those periods of the game,” Papenhuyzen said on Monday.
“There was a few moments when we went a bit quiet and weren’t sure how to handle a few things.
“There was probably a little bit we missed there … just that extra touch, we had a minute left and could have played the set out.”
Storm forward Kenny Bromwich praised his brother Jesse after he and injured lock Dale Finucane took over as co-captains from Smith, but said they were still learning under the new leadership style.
“We were trying to win but I felt like we could have done things differently and not everyone was on the same page,” Kenny said of the finish to the Eels match.
“Looking back he (Smith) would have made sure we were on the same page and while we tried to do that but it would have been different if he was there.
“But he’s gone and we have to learn from that.”
Melbourne’s torrid start to the season continues this Thursday night, taking on another top six side with a grand final rematch against Penrith at Panthers Stadium.
Penrith stunningly haven’t had a point scored against them in their opening two games.
“They’ve started really well so it’s going to be a tough one,” Papenuyzen said.
“We’re going to have to talk to Bellyache (Bellamy) and get him to let us do some more work on attack this week rather than defence.
“They will probably come out and start really fast as I’m sure they will be upset from what happened last year.”