It's come too late for finals action, but skipper Greg Inglis believes South Sydney "turned a massive corner" when they pushed new NRL ladder leaders Melbourne to the limit.
It took Inglis' counterpart Cameron Smith to steal a 15-14 home victory for Melbourne with a cleverly-taken field goal from dummy half, having earlier sent the match into extra time with a 39-metre penalty goal.
The result was cruel for Souths who were moments away from halting an eight-game losing streak, but instead slipped to 14th on the ladder with a 5-15 record.
But Inglis was delighted to see the pride back in the Rabbitohs jumper as his team belied their 54-4 thrashing by Canberra last week with a performance more befitting the powerhouse club of recent times.
"I think we just turned a massive corner from where we were in the last two months or so," said Inglis.
"You know, it is heartbreaking but I can't fault the effort from the boys. It just wasn't to be, it wasn't our night."
Under extreme pressure going into the match, Souths coach Michael Maguire was clearly relieved, having faced suggestions that he'd lost support of his players.
"I thought our boys really had a red-hot crack," said Maguire.
"I thought the efforts right across the park were to the standards that the boys have been talking about for quite some time, so it was pleasing to see."
"The players have definitely stuck strong together and I think that performance tonight is probably one of the best ones for this year, so we want to build on the back of that."
"We want to make sure that we obviously have performances like that in our next game," he added, as they prepare for an away trip to play the Warriors on Saturday night.