Storm 'still stuck in 2017': Slater
Melbourne Storm fullback Billy Slater says his team are "still stuck in 2017" as far as new rule interpretations go and need to adapt quickly.
The Storm gave away 19 penalties against the Cronulla Sharks on Saturday night in what was their most ill-disciplined performance of the season.
You could almost hear Craig Bellamy's booming invective throughout the AAMI Park walls as he laid down the law to his team during their weekly review session on Monday.
So much so that it went for an extra 40 minutes, as the coach outlined what he needed to fix.
There's plenty to work on for Bellamy's team.
"I think Craig's really focused on where we can improve – we've never been about concentrating on what we can't control, they're plenty what we can improve on," Slater said.
"Number one, Craig's focusing on our errors and the way we're turning over the football, and number two, our discipline. We're just giving far too many penalties away.
"The [rule] interpretation has changed this year. We're probably still stuck in 2017, and we need to catch up."
Match: Sharks vs Storm
Venue: Southern Cross Group Stadium
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Melbourne's two-win, two-loss start isn't the end of the world – in fact, in 2015, the last time they started with such a record, the Storm made the Telstra Premiership preliminary finals.
But they know they can't afford a repeat of their performance against the Sharks, in which they finished with a 64% completion rate.
"It's something we certainly need to improve on – be better at our handling and the way we turn over possession," Slater said.
"That's a major concern for us right now, something that we are certainly going to be working on this week.
"At times, we probably don't see it as overly important or it's not just one person, it's more collectively as a team. That's what's frustrating about it. We need to take better care of the football when we have it."
The Storm will face the Wests Tigers for the second time in three weeks on Saturday, this time in Auckland as part of a double-header with the New Zealand Warriors and North Queensland Cowboys.
Slater doesn't want a repeat of their round two loss (10-8 at AAMI Park) but is aware of the challenge his opponents present.
"The Tigers are playing outstandingly," he said.
"Their attitude and their defence particularly. They're working hard for one another. I've been really impressed with the way they've played their footy this year, and they could easily be three from three."