All-rounder Shane Watson feels Australia's performance has been affected ever since they were told by Cricket Australia (CA) to cut down on the sledging.
Ahead of the Ashes series, CA reminded players of their responsibility as role models and to set the right example.
Watson admitted the tourists have struggled to find the right balance between being gentlemen and intimidating opponents.
With England now 1-0 up in the series, Watson warned Australia would pull out all the stops to retain the Ashes urn - because ultimately that is what their public will demand.
"One thing Cricket Australia have said to us is to make sure we know where the line is and don't cross it," Watson was quoted as saying in Daily Telegraph.
"It is a sticky one because of course the general public in Australia want us to be perfect role models and the hardest thing when you play is to be extremely competitive and not cross the line, in terms of the things the general public don't want us to do like spitting and swearing."
"It is a fine line between being perfect role models and being competitive. As a group we don't want to lose the edge. That is the reason we have been so good in the past because of how competitive we are and we don't take a backward step," Watson said.
"We have got to make sure we do everything we can to win in the end, because that is what Cricket Australia and the Australian public do want."
Watson is set to play for Australia against Northamptonshire in a three-day tour match, starting on Friday, as the tourists assess their selection options for the third Test at Edgbaston.