Despite a convincing 26-6 win over the North Queensland Cowboys on Friday night, the Melbourne Storm haven't been given a measure of their own performance which was sloppier than their usually clinical execution.
The Storm scored five tries, four of which came from attacking raids on the Cowboys' injury-riddled left edge, where Coen Hess was filling in at centre and Kane Linnett had moved out to the wing.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy was happy with the two competition points but felt his side was flat coming off the short turnaround and the event of Cameron Smith's 350th game.
"I just thought in the first half some of our execution probably wasn't what we would have liked, but it's hard to too critical of our guys," Bellamy said.
"The last time we had an away game was in Canberra and in was minus six the day of the game and we come up here and these guys have to go out and play in the humidity that they're not used to."
Despite his team lacking execution Bellamy couldn't fault their effort, particularly in defence as they repelled several Cowboys' sets in the second half.
"I was always worried we would be a touch flat but having said that I thought, especially our second half, I thought our effort was really good… to keep the Cowboys to one try I thought it was a really good effort," the Storm coach said.
"The players are not quite sure what to make of the game itself because the Cowboys played the game under a lot of duress with the players that they had out.
"Obviously when you have players go off early like that there are different players playing different positions but that also restricts your interchange as well so they had guys playing a bit longer than what they'd usually have."
The Cowboys' injuries also distracted Melbourne from their own game plan according to captain Cameron Smith, with the Storm ignoring other opportunities to attack the Cowboys' left edge.
"I think we probably went away from our game plan a little bit… we came up here with a mindset to use our big boys but as soon as Coen [Hess] went out wide I think we tried to chase him a little bit," Smith said.
"I don't think we really gained as much advantage as we could have, I think if we had stuck to our game plan we still could have attacked their left edge but just been a little bit smarter with the way we went about it."