Jahrome Hughes has declared Melbourne as ready to get back on the horse after consecutive heavy away defeats left the team feeling 'embarrassed' at their efforts.
A 36-30 loss to Manly at 4 Pines Park and a compounding 28-6 defeat to Cronulla at PointsBet Stadium in back-to-back matches have left Melbourne vulnerable, and the stars are certainly aware of it.
While they notoriously lose some of their biggest stars to Origin during this time each season, 2022 has proved to be one of the most gruelling times for the club during Craig Bellamy's 20-season reign as head coach.
Having lost Christian Welch, George Jennings and Reimis Smith for the season within the competition's first eight weeks, the Storm depth is being tested like never before, with a host of other stars also spending time on the sideline.
This week's match-up against Canberra will be the first time since Round 9 that Melbourne have been able to trot out their full-strength spine, but they will still be missing departing forward Brandon Smith, who will serve a three-game ban after labelling a referee a 'cheat' last start.
While halfback Hughes knows first-hand what losing these games feels like, the Kiwi international is confident an extended break will allow the Storm to turn the ship around.
“It’s quite embarrassing for us actually, we’re embarrassed with how we’re playing but we’ve played some quality teams as well,” Hughes told NRL.com.
“We’re nowhere near where we want to be. We’ve got a bit of a long turnaround now so we’ll take that and get back to training and focus.
“To be honest it’s probably been one of the toughest Origin periods we’ve been through, not just losing Origin players but injuries to players who were in our starting team in Round 1."
Melbourne have slipped to third on the ladder, however they will have the opportunity to climb back to second if Cronulla can topple a North Queensland outfit missing Tom Dearden, Valentine Holmes, Murray Taulagi and Jeremiah Nanai.
A 10-day rest between games has left Hughes hoping that the break can rejuvenate the side before the finals, and not just physically.
“I feel like we need (a rest), it will be a good break for us. I think some of us do. We’ll take that few days off to mentally refresh and come back energised for the back half of the year.”
Melbourne will take on the Raiders at AAMI Park, eager to continue their current hot streak, now standing at seven wins from seven games when playing their full-strength spine in 2022.