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Storm must fix handling woes to avoid rare third straight loss: Scott

Melbourne rarely lose two matches in a row but it happened on Sunday when they went down to Cronulla a week after being beaten by South Sydney.

Losing three on the trot is borderline unfathomable, especially when they're at home this Friday night against 15th-placed Parramatta.

The last time the Storm suffered more than two losses in a row was when the State of Origin period contributed to a four-game barren streak leading up to round 18 in 2015.

And when it comes to a solution, according to centre Curtis Scott, it's as simple as being better at holding the footy.

The Craig Bellamy-coached side completed at 76% in their loss to the Sharks on Sunday.

At a time when they should be hitting top form in the lead-up to the playoffs, the back-to-back defeats are causing concern in the dressing room, compounding the fears they have for retiring veteran forward Ryan Hoffman, who may have played his last NRL game after suffering a hamstring injury against Cronulla.

Maintaining possession is an are of the game in which Melbourne struggled at the start of the season and despite winning eight on the trot recently, they have fallen back into their old habits.

Coaches Speak – Round 22

"I think we were giving away too much footy I think and not completing to where we should be," Scott said of the Storm's 17-14 loss to Cronulla.

"It's coming to the important part of the season where teams are starting to find their straps going into the semi-finals.

There were some games where we were completing over 80% and beating teams by 30. It's simple: we just need to hang on the footy and stick to our game plan."

And the statistics back up his claim. Melbourne completed at least than 75% in their early-season defeats to the Tigers, Sharks and Dragons.

Scott heads into his second finals series better prepared than as a 19-year-old last year, when the Storm won the premiership.

"It came pretty fast for me coming into the semi-finals," he said.

"I was just soaking it up every week for me, I didn't know what to expect.

"But this year, I'll be a bit more prepared and know what to expect and what the crowd brings."

Top 5 Plays of the Week – Round 22

The centre says he's bracing for the in-form Parramatta to put in another giant-killing effort this Friday, with Mitch Moses and Jarryd Hayne getting back to their best in attack.

"They've got strike players throughout the field," he said.

"They obviously can't make the finals and I'm sure they'll be coming down here and try and knock off the Melbourne Storm to pump up their tires a lot for next season. I'm sure Brad and the boys will be really excited to get down here and get stuck into us."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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