A little piece of the All Blacks was always going to be damaged or lost when Richie McCaw moved on five years ago.
And maybe now we are seeing what's gone with him, which is that the All Blacks have lost the art of sustaining their fury.
Since 2016, they have been erratic in their mental application. They are boom and bust when it comes to intensity, rumbling like thunder one week and then all Quaker church ceremony the next.
The pattern has been undeniable these past four years. The All Blacks lost in Chicago to Ireland in 2016 when they failed to front in the collisions.
Two weeks later and they responded with the most physically intense performance of recent times to win in Dublin.
In 2017 after the final test draw against the British and Irish Lions, the All Blacks wiped the floor with the Wallabies in Sydney in their next game and that was most definitely the case again last year.
They fell to a record defeat in Perth last year, won 36-0 in Auckland the following week at Eden Park.
The first test of 2020 should have been an occasion for the All Blacks to make a statement. To blast out of the blocks with a new coach and captain and deliver a performance that had controlled rage at its heart.
But we didn't get it and now who would bet against the All Blacks responding at Eden Park with the sort of venom that should have been present in Wellington and this whole up and down cycle continuing?
This is the pattern into which the All Blacks have slowly fallen since McCaw moved on.
It's almost as if the All Blacks need to be hit by the stick to want the carrot: that they can only reach into themselves and find the ferocity they need after a poor performance.
It wasn't like this with McCaw at the helm. He brought a thousand things and more to the All Blacks, but if there was one quality that mattered most, it was that relentless drive of his to ensure that he and his team-mates arrived at kick-off in the right frame of mind to dominate their opposition.
He couldn't make it happen every time, but on his watch it was rare for the All Blacks to be without urgency and mental intensity.
Rarely were they lacking application or ferocity in that period. Mostly they were pro-active – got the nasty bits of their game just right and had the right sort of attitude to deliver the right sort of physicality.
The fact they only lost three times between 2012 and 2015 is the ultimate testament to McCaw's ability as captain to create an environment that mostly always ensured individuals were mentally firing when they needed to be.
They certainly didn't need a loss or draw to motivate them the following week and the All Blacks desperately need to rediscover this lost art of being All Blacks in attitude and application every time they play.
It is obvious that both Dane Coles and Aaron Smith of the current team would endorse that.
They presented a united front on media duties, both disappointed to the point of being angry that once again they had endured an infamous performance review that had shone on an unflattering light on the collective performance.
Both men have been around since 2012 and have lived through a period when mental application wasn't a problem and now a longer period where it has.
They want it to end as they understand that the All Blacks can't achieve greatness if they only bring the right attitude every other game.
Great teams don't need to lose to be in the right head space the next week and if there is one lesson they are desperate for their younger, less experienced team-mates to quickly learn, it is that.
Smith, who gave his own performance a low mark, citing inaccurate passing and poor decision-making among other faults, couldn't offer any reasons as to why the All Blacks had been so passive and lacking in Wellington.
Coles had no answers either but both know that it's the senior men who need to set the best example. The pressure is on them to show the way – to lead by example and up their own respective performances.
That was one of the keys to the McCaw era being so successful – he was surrounded by quality, experienced players who drove their own preparation and took responsibility for themselves while holding others to account.
And this is why Smith and Coles both know that there has to be a turnaround this week and it has to be sustained for the remainder of the Bledisloe series.
A boom-bust approach will leave the All Blacks in trouble. They can't get away with being all pumped one week and flat the next – this Wallabies team looks too good to be beaten by a so-so All Blacks performance.