Penrith veteran Trent Merrin believes complacency is a major factor in the side producing their worst form of the NRL season.
The Panthers are in danger of slumping as low as eighth for the first time this year after dropping four of their past five games - including last week's 50-18 massacre in Brisbane.
Merrin identified a worrying change in mindset and the gruelling State of Origin period as the primary reasons for Penrith's alarming decline.
"You can get complacent throughout a season. It's a long season, (and) I think we've gotten a little bit complacent as a group," he said on Tuesday.
"It doesn't help players coming in and out on top of that as well.
"We've got a good chance now to regroup, have a great week at training and prepare really hard for this weekend."
Merrin claimed the playing group had let down their Origin contingent by failing to maintain the standards they set on their way to reaching top spot in May.
"(Origin) definitely takes a mental toll. Us players that weren't in the Origin period have let them down by not bringing that energy up for when they come back into it," he said.
The Panthers looked like premiership material after toppling St George Illawarra in a top-of-the-table clash in round 12 to extend their winning streak to four.
However, another loss against Manly on Saturday could leave them in the last finals' spot and vulnerable to an in-form Wests Tigers outfit in pursuit of a premiership chance.
"Our first two-thirds of the year were really good. We've put ourselves in a wonderful position here and there's an opportunity to play semi-final football," second-rower Isaah Yeo said.
"But we need to understand that we need to start winning games leading in because there's some sides there out of the eight that are coming in with some really good form.
"The Wests Tigers have shown that."
Just as the Panthers' injury toll appeared to be easing, coach Anthony Griffin is likely to have lost impressive rookie Jarome Luai to a season-ending ankle injury suffered in Brisbane.
However, second-choice fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is set to return after missing the Broncos defeat with a hamstring injury.
"He was pretty close last week but obviously (with the) hammy you don't want to rush things. So fingers crossed he's back on board this week," Yeo said.
"With poor Jarome Luai, obviously he had the syndesmosis injury. I think they're waiting on scans but it didn't look crash hot."