Despite losing to the Storm in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday night, South Sydney coach Michael Maguire was full of praise for his side following the Rabbitohs' 15-14 golden point loss.
Cameron Smith sunk South Sydney hearts with a field goal in the 84th minute, but the 83 minutes prior were some of the best Maguire had seen all season.
"I thought we really had a red hot crack tonight, and I thought the effort right across the park were at the standard the boys have been talking about for quite some time, so it was pleasing to see that they completed high and were able to get some real effective play on," Maguire said.
"I thought one thing that was probably really pleasing was our defence. First half they threw plenty at us, the Storm, and they always do when they play at you, but our boys dug deep many times to repel them and put ourselves in a great opportunity at the back end there, but it just wasn't to be.
"I'm really proud of the players with that performance, we've been working hard to achieve that kind of performance a couple of months now, so we'll get a lot out of that game. I think the boys really found what South Sydney rugby league is all about.
"How we want to be seen as a team is exactly what you saw out there tonight."
Souths led 6-0 at half-time and were on top of the Storm for the majority of the game, but a last minute penalty against Damien Cook gave Cameron Smith the chance to send the game into golden point, and the Storm captain made no mistake.
Souths came to Melbourne looking for a better performance and they certainly delivered it.
Maguire said while the week may have been a tough one, Saturday night's result was one he hopes can kick start a strong final four weeks of the season.
"I think it's the work the boys have been doing in the background, unfortunately we haven't been seeing the rewards of that, but they've definitely stuck strong together and that performance tonight is definitely one of the best ones of this year, so we want to build on the back of that," Maguire said.
Bunnies captain Greg Inglis returned from suspension on Saturday night and echoed his coach's sentiments, believing his side had come a long way over recent weeks but was still disappointed with the result.
"I think we just turned a massive corner from where we were in the last two months or so," Inglis said.
"It was heartbreaking but I can't fault the effort from the boys tonight, it just wasn't to be and it wasn't our night, at the end of the day it's two points gone begging once again."
MONDAY FOOTY FEVER - LAST HOME GAME!
Join us for our last home game for 2016! Click on the image below to buy tickets.