Under-pressure Warriors coach Andrew McFadden admits his messages are not getting through to his players as he searches for answers in the wake of Monday's humiliating 42-0 capitulation to Melbourne Storm.
Conceding seven unanswered tries in the Anzac Day clash at AAMI Park was "gutting", said McFadden, and two days later he remains short on reasons behind his side's alarmingly inconsistent form.
A good match preparation gave no sign of the inept effort that was to follow, and he accepts it falls on his shoulders to get his side up each week, but says the players were well aware of the significance of the occasion and need to be held accountable for their woeful display.
"There's a lot of responsibility," McFadden told Radio Sport about his role as head coach.
"I've been doing a lot of thinking about our preparation and where I went wrong and it's my job to deliver that and give that consistency.
"Certainly, it's first and foremost me, but then the responsibility has to come to the players so I'll be making sure that they're accountable for it.
"We can't excuse that they would have known what sort of game it was going to be. They're already traditionally big battles."
Having achieved just three wins in their last 16 games, McFadden concedes his voice is not being heard by the players, in a season that promised so much but has fast become a recurring nightmare.
Six times this year already, players have said all the right-sounding words in reaction to limp or heart-breaking defeats - in the final of the Auckland Nines (4-22), in the final preseason trial against St George Illawarra (10-46), round one against Wests Tigers (28-32), round three against Melbourne (14-21), round six to Manly (18-34), and last week's latest debacle - but any follow-up improvements have been fleeting, with complacency and a lack of professionalism the stand-out features of the campaign so far.
Three games in and without a win, it even took an angry halftime spray from McFadden to finally inspire them to a flattering 40-18 win over an ordinary Newcastle side. The week after, a struggling Roosters side still managed to score four tries in the thrilling but deceiving 32-28 round five golden point win in Gosford.
"Well, obviously not at the moment," he said when asked if his messages were having any impact.
"So I'll have to think about how that message gets through. There's no doubt about that."
Choosing a side to play the Dragons in Sunday's home game at Mt Smart Stadium had been difficult, less than 24 hours after the Storm thrashing, although the 17 is far from finalised.
But McFadden finds himself between a rock and a hard place, as any temptation to drop some of his big-name players must be tempered by the need to have all hands on deck following injuries to Simon Mannering and Tui Lolohea.
As calls for his sacking grow louder, he will also be wary of getting offside with the players, and what little team morale remains would be severely tested if McFadden sent to reserve grade those looking to win a spot in the Kiwis side to play the Kangaroos in the transtasman test in Newcastle on May 6.
He is also banking on them bouncing back for a must-win clash but knows the problem is in finding a long-term solution to the team's yoyo-like form.
"I've got no doubt we can get back on track," he said. "That will be the easy bit, to get back on track, it's just finding that consistency that's the challenge.
"As an organisation, that's something we haven't been able to do. We're still trying to find it."