The Waratahs are refusing to go into a "dark hole" despite their winless Super Rugby AU season continuing with a heavy loss to Melbourne.
The Waratahs looked like they would be kept scoreless for the first time ever at AAMI Park and only the second time in Super history before two tries in the final three minutes improved the margin to 33-14.
But they were outclassed across the park by the Rebels, and their job doesn't get any easier with a meeting next round with Queensland followed by the Brumbies.
They will still be without injured captain and halfback Jake Gordon (ankle) for another few weeks.
Five-eighth Will Harrison relinquished the kicking duties due to a hip problem but could still run freely, although he was completely outshone by veteran Rebels No.10 Matt Toomua.
Waratahs coach Rob Penney said his team were showing signs of improvement but needed to improve their concentration, execution and urgency.
"We're a young group growing and looking to get better," Penney said.
"We could live in a dark hole for a few days if we let ourselves but we've got to bounce quickly as we've got a big game at home.
"We've got to take the learnings and apply them to the games.
"There's been a lot of good stuff being done but it's just getting that application consistently in games so we can get the reward."
Sweeping changes are unlikely for their Stadium Australia clash on Saturday with Penney saying some of his "young pups" on the bench weren't ready for a starting role against the competition heavyweights.
Fill-in Tahs skipper Alex Newsome said the team was doing all it could to turn the season around.
"We just ask our fans to stick by us as we're a young, inexperienced group but we're working hard," Newsome said.
"We're under no illusions about the improvements we need to make to be competitive."