They may have gone down by a point in Melbourne, but the 2018 season isn't over for the South Sydney Rabbitohs as they look to bounce back this weekend against old foes the St George Illawarra Dragons.
While the tight loss in Melbourne unquestionably wasn't what the team hoped for in week one of the 2018 Finals series, as pointed out by Cody Walker post-match, there were a number of lessons learned by the men from Redfern that will serve the side well leading into the blockbuster clash against the Dragons, and beyond.
Although the side just fell short of breaking their AAMI Park hoodoo, the 2018 Rabbitohs have defied most expectations throughout the season.
At the commencement of the Season rookie Head Coach Anthony Seibold and his squad were fancied by few to be a force in the 2018 competition. In spite of this, the Rabbitohs put together nine consecutive wins; the longest winning streak since the 1989 Rabbitohs went twelve games without a loss and stormed towards a top-four finish in the closest NRL season to date.
South Sydney's revamped attack has been an important contributor to their impressive winning form this season; statistically, Souths have been one of the most potent attacking teams in the competition scoring 103 tries, reaching 610 points - the first time in Club history a side has scored more than 600 points - and producing 129 line breaks.
Impressive backline movements have featured often on the highlight reel, but the men in Red and Green also haven't been shy of getting their hands dirty either, running for a ladder leading 39,904 metres.
Going down to Melbourne was always going to be a difficult task for the Cardinal and Myrtle but the Rabbitohs will be buoyed by the amount of effort and commitment they displayed during the one-point loss.
In 2018, South Sydney have responded extremely well after a defeat.
Back in Round 5, the Rabbitohs suffered a four-point loss at the hands of the Dragons but returned with big wins against the Roosters and the Canberra Raiders in the following weeks.
We'll turn it around next weekend' - Walker
This was then followed by another four-point loss to the Broncos, which the Rabbitohs responded with their nine-match winning streak.
While their incredible run came to an end at the hands of the Wests Tigers, Souths once again answered back with an emphatic win over the Melbourne Storm.
In the back end of the season, the Rabbitohs did slump to a three-match losing streak but in turn eventually responded with their biggest win of the season against the Tigers in Round 25.
The Rabbitohs and the Dragons have clashed three times already this year and this Saturday will make it the fourth encounter of 2018.
Rabbitohs beat Dragons 22-18 in Mudgee
As mentioned before, this will be the first time the Rabbitohs have squared off against St George Illawarra in the finals since the St George Dragons and Illawarra Steelers merged together in 1998.
It's sure to be a massive occasion with a big crowd expected at ANZ Stadium, which will create an epic atmosphere not seen since South Sydney and St George last met in a finals series 34 years ago.
Match action - Rabbitohs v Dragons
It's a match sure to attract plenty of attention and one not to be missed as two old foes look set to battle it out once again.