The erratic NSW Waratahs have identified a dip in work rate from last year as one reason for their inconsistent Super Rugby form.
The Tahs slipped off the top of the Australian conference following a shock 31-29 loss to the Sunwolves in Newcastle last Friday.
That deflating low came less than a week after the huge high of upsetting competition benchmark side the Crusaders at the SCG.
Lock Rob Simmons said the Monday review of the game was tough to watch, noting NSW sometimes lost the ball because players went one out.
Semifinalists in 2017, NSW have a mediocre 3-3 record this year and have fallen to second in the local conference behind Melbourne Rebels.
"Where we were at the end of last year I don't think we are in terms of our work rate yet and we should be getting there by this time of the season " Simmons said.
"I think that was something we saw this morning in our review as well, is those little work rate areas."
Wallabies Bernard Foley, Jack Dempsey and Adam Ashley-Cooper missed the Sunwolves game as part of a rotation policy.
"As a squad we need to embrace that challenge and look at ways of winning without certain players," Simmons said.
The lineout has been one of the Waratahs' strongest points this year and 94-times capped Wallaby Simmons has been one of the form Australian locks of the competition.
"I know the general Australian public think I'm getting old but I'm still looking to improve," said Simmons, who turns 30 later this month.
"The focus I have each week, is always looking to get better."
Next Saturday the Tahs play a resurgent Blues side, who have won three straight heading into the match in Auckland.
"They all look to run, they are very attack orientated, they can offload, they've all got pretty good skills," Simmons said.
"I think they've threats all over the field and they are all pretty big guys too.
"It will be a good old fashioned game where the forwards will have to win an up-front battle and the backs will have to try and nullify their backs."