Prop Luke Burgess has revealed the threat of the axe is driving South Sydney's players to turn their season around.
Burgess was dumped to reserve grade following the loss to Wests Tigers in round three and Ben Lowe, Joe Picker, Beau Champion and Lote Tuqiri have all experienced a similar fate this season as Souths won just one of their opening four games.
Queensland back-rowers Chris McQueen and Ben Te'o were also been relegated to the bench as coach Michael Maguire desperately tried to find a winning solution.
Saturday's 26-6 win over St George Illawarra stopped the rot and Burgess vindicated his recall to the side with the opening try.
But he said his brief stint with the North Sydney Bears in the NSW Cup was a reminder of what he needed to do to stay in the side.
"We both agreed I needed a few things to work on to improve my game," Burgess said.
"Sometimes you have to go backwards to go forwards.
"I went back, addressed a few things and got quite a bit of game time which was good. It's not something I want to be doing regularly but I was happy to do it this time."
Burgess said the players are fully aware of Maguire's ruthless streak and said it's needed to keep standards high at the club.
"People have seen since he got here that he's willing to make those big decisions," he said.
"It doesn't matter who you are he'll do that and it makes for a good competition for spots in the team.
"I am sure there will be a way back for the other lads who have been dropped to return."