Bulldogs skipper Josh Jackson says he was not a fan of watching on in round four but is stinging to return alongside Luke Thompson and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to drag his club out of a rut.
The task couldn't be much bigger against the in-form Storm in Melbourne but Jackson believes the team should take encouragement from a strong start against Souths.
"It was tough, it was only the second one I've missed so it was a strange feeling," Jackson told NRL.com.
"It was tough obviously watching it. I thought we started the game really well though. Just a few little periods let us down in the first half. I thought we started the second half OK then obviously the second half [of the half] was pretty tough to watch."
While three players back from suspension strengthens the team, last week's fullback Nick Meaney (ribs) and five-eighth Lachlan Lewis (head knock) are both out injured with the squad struggling to consistently put the same team on the park so far.
"We sort of haven't seemed to have a real consistent team … I'm not using that as an excuse but having the same blokes on the field each week certainly helps," Jackson added.
Struggling attack not the only worry for Barrett
"I think Thommo will be a big boost for us through the middle. In saying that I thought our big boys did a really good job for us last week.
"It was Dylan Napa's best game of the year, Jack Hetherington I thought was probably our best. He really put his hand up. Hopefully if we can keep improving and do that consistently, we'll put ourselves in a position to win some games."
Jackson said Lewis had been shattered to be forced off after getting his first chance of the year, with his long kicking game missed by halves partner Kyle Flanagan.
"That was a tough one for the team," Jackson said.
"Reshuffling, you lose one of your key players in a six who would have taken a lot of pressure off Kyle just with his kicking game."
With three scoreless games in a row, the team knows it's not just the defensive side of things that requires improvement.
The reshuffle this week includes Corey Allan shifting to centre – his third position in five games for the club – with Nick Cotric moving out to wing. Jake Averillo returns from one week off with an ankle complaint in place of Lewis while Renouf Atoni and Hetherington shift to the bench to accommodate Jackson and Thompson, with Joe Stimson and Dean Britt out of the 17.
"We need to improve our attacking stuff on the try line," Jackson said.
"Losing Lachie obviously didn't help but even so that's not an excuse. We just need to execute our plan better. Trent [Barrett] gives us a pretty simple plan and it's a good plan, we just need to go out and execute that better.
"The big thing for us is making sure everyone's trusting the process and trusting the direction that Trent wants to go in and making sure we're turning up to training, training really well, doing that consistently and creating good habits at training because they're the little things that are going to lead on into results on the field so that's our role as leaders in the team."