Content South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire has expressed his joy over his team's ability to hang tough in their 18-nil win over the Cronulla Sharks on Monday night.
While the game remained an arm wrestle from start to finish, Maguire was particularly pleased with his side's wiliness in defence after holding Cronulla to nil for the first time in 81 appearances against one another.
Despite missing Queensland Origin trio Greg Inglis, Chris McQueen and Ben Te'o the Bunnies still looked comfortable as they secured their sixth win of the season, a win that now sees them re-enter the top eight heading into Round 12.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game down here. Every time we come down here on a Monday night you end up in a bit of an arm wrestle and that's what it was tonight," Maguire said.
"The boys made it hard for themselves at times through the game. Pleasing that they're working really hard for each other but we know we need to be better than that from an attack point of view, but our defence held us up strong tonight.
"It was great to see that they were kept to nil. We've been working hard to keep a team to nil and I've been told that the last time [it happened] was in 1999 so little things along the way like that are pleasing to achieve and we just have to keep backing it up now."
While the Sharks are having a miserable season to date, with only two wins to their name so far this year, Maguire was adamant that the Rabbitohs were in no way complacent despite the Sharks missing influential quartet Paul Gallen Todd Carney, Andrew Fifita and Luke Lewis.
"We actually had a number of players coming in and they're all playing for positions with the guys that are gone [on Origin duty]. I thought Benny Lowe, Tom Burgess and Joe Picker came on and did a good job for us," Maguire said.
"The boys trained really well during the week, we spoke about the fact that it was going to be a tough game as it always is... but there's still plenty of work we can do."
Not one to rest on his laurels Maguire is refusing to look too far into the future with his focus now shifting to Monday night's clash with the Dragons, who will be playing with new coach Paul McGregor at the helm for the first time following the sacking of Steve Price.
"[Next week] is all that matters with the amount of footy we have to go. It's such a tight competition where every game is so important. We learnt some harsh lessons earlier in the season and that put us in a place we didn't like but we're growing as a group and we'll get better from that performance tonight."