Melbourne Storm back-rower Ryan Hoffman.

Ryan Hoffman is learning about off-field leadership but it's his on-field smarts the Storm need most after their first defeat of the season on Saturday against the Tigers.

As part of his transition into a post-football career, the 34-year-old swaps his boots for a suit, spending a day each week learning how to run a successful sporting organisation in the halls of Storm HQ.

But after the club's middling performances to start 2018 and a short turnaround ahead of Thursday’s clash with the North Queensland Cowboys, the second-rower is busy sharing advice with his less-experienced colleagues.

"I suppose the big thing is you can't just get internal; you can't just worry about 'poor old me’," he said.

"You've got to make sure you're doing everything right for the betterment of the team.

"We had too many individuals that were off against the Tigers. It comes back to the individual focus and doing well yourself, and that flowing on the rest of your team. If you're doing your job, you're not making anyone else's job harder."

The Cowboys are also hurting after losing to the Brisbane Broncos on Friday night.

Hoffman is relishing the challenge.

Melbourne Storm back-rower Ryan Hoffman.
Melbourne Storm back-rower Ryan Hoffman. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"We've got a good opportunity - it's a big game anytime the Storm play the Cowboys, especially after last year," he said.

"We're expecting a fired-up North Queensland team to come down. I think it's going to be the best challenge for us at this stage.

"They've made a very good forward group they had last year even better with Macca (Jordan McLean) going up there. But with Matt Scott coming back as well, you've got two quality front-rowers there that they didn't have part of their team last year.

It's going to be a great challenge, and certainly with Johnathan Thurston coming down, and Michael Morgan going to be back too."

As for Hoffman's work inside the club, he says it's helped him get away from football.

"It's good. It's been a good break from it I suppose. You get that side on preparing for the next stage. I'm enjoying it and found a really good balance."