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Storm forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy praised the effort of his side against the Eels on Thursday night but says senior players need to fill the gulf left by Cameron Smith's departure.

The wet-weather grind was tailor-made for legendary game-manager Smith; instead, it was opposition No.9 Reed Mahoney's deft kicking from dummy half, along with Mitch Moses' long boot, that proved decisive.

"I thought our effort was tremendous actually but we didn't play smart enough, didn't play disciplined enough especially in the second half," Bellamy said.

"The first half I thought we were pretty good, I thought we had more opportunities. The second half, our completions were way behind Parramatta and we didn't have any field position compared to them and paid the price."

He said players need to take more "personal responsibility" in those sorts of games, particularly some plays that cost the side field position at crucial times.

Match Highlights: Eels v Storm

"Without Cameron [Smith] there we're still learning our way a little bit; we lost our way last week a little bit too," he added.

"Smithy would be picking them up out there, that's still a part we need to get right, what he's brought us in a game like that.

"I couldn’t ask for any more effort from them but I could ask for a few more smarter efforts perhaps.

"We're still learning a little bit of that ... we've just got to take responsibility."

The Storm are not only learning to play without Smith, they are doing so while his successor Harry Grant is sidelined.

Papenhuyzen kick ends up in the hands of Olam

Bellamy said Grant could still be another four games away with the knee injury he suffered in the trial match.

Brandon Smith is a more than capable replacement but was caught out a few times delivering poor passes from dummy half and in both games so far has looked exhausted when interchanged midway through the second half.

Bellamy twice praised the performance of the Kiwi No.9 though.

The Storm have two concerns out of Thursday's game besides the loss.

Bellamy said he didn't think there was much in an incident that left back-rower Felise Kaufusi on report and Ryan Matterson concussed, while he wasn't sure whether the injury that forced Nelson Asofa-Solomona off late in the game was a sternum injury or head knock.

 

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