South Sydney coach Michael Maguire is happy with his side's morale despite losing four of its past five games.
The Bunnies jumped into season 2016 guns ablaze, racking up a combined winning margin of 74 points over their first two games, but appear to have completely lost their identity.
The fabled forward pack has greatly lacked punch, partly due to injury, rendering the playmaking skill of Luke Keary almost useless. Of course, the return of Origin prospect Adam Reynolds will give them a shot in the arm, but more will be asked of the forwards in weeks to come.
After the 44-18 loss to the Cowboys in Townsville on Friday Maguire gave their fans something to take away from the heavy defeat, voicing his pride in his squad for sticking solid and keeping spirits high.
"The morale between the boys is actually very strong," he said.
"Watching the players and how they interact, I'm actually very proud of them. Obviously we're not getting the results that we'd like to out on the field at the moment, but we understand what we need to do."
The Bunnies were greeted with a surge of energy from a Cowboys side ready to build on their solid success at home this season, and after conceding an early try managed to even things up when Keary put Chris Grevsmuhl over.
The Cowboys appeared jaded after the quick try – lacking line speed and not sending multiple tacklers to the Souths ball-carrier – and for a very brief period the visitors had something of a control over the game.
"There were periods in the game where we had some pretty good signs," Maguire said.
"We got our plays on and scored a couple of tries, but it's just the periods where we've got to do it for longer. Defensively we've got to make sure we keep working hard there.
"Teams like the Cowboys expose little areas in your game. If you give them the ball too much, then they get to apply more pressure than we do. You've just got to make sure you are clinical back. It's pretty simple.
"They're a team that throw a lot of structure at you. There were periods where there were signs of the things we've been practicing, but we need to make sure we stay in it longer."
A disheartened Sam Burgess added: "No one likes losing but we have faith in each other as a group. We'll take what we need from this game and go back to working hard on Sunday and Monday this week."