South Sydney coach Michael Maguire has challenged his team to make their effort that they displayed in pushing Brisbane to the wire on Friday night their new standard, believing that improved execution can keep their season alive.
The Rabbitohs could drop as low as 14th on the Telstra Premiership ladder at the end of Round 14 after going down 24-18 to the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Friday, fighting back from a 12-6 half-time deficit to level the scores early in the second term before Brisbane sealed the win late.
It was a marked improvement on their last-up effort against the Eels after which Maguire delivered one of the all-time post-match sprays but without coming away with the two competition points puts them in dangerous 'mathematical chance' territory in terms of finals qualification.
Unable to break Brisbane's defence after a bright start, South Sydney made two crucial errors while attacking the Broncos' line in the opening 15 minutes, allowing the home side to launch counter attacking raids that carried them most of the way down the field.
Little interchanges of passing that came so naturally to Brisbane seemed so forced for a South Sydney team that has now lost six of its past seven games, Maguire lamenting the key moments that slipped through their fingers.
"I actually think we're a lot closer than what people think at times," Maguire said.
"That game was key areas and key moments in the game and that's what this level of football is all about.
"It's just little key moments. Whether it's kicking the ball dead or a dropped ball, there were a couple of penalties that let them off the hook but it did go both ways.
"They were able to ride through the wave there a little bit better than what we did.
"I had some words after our last game and I thought the boys responded really well.
"I've got a lot of belief in this team and they put that out on the park, we've just got to continually back that up and keep working hard at the things that we talk about."
Captain Sam Burgess denied there was an issue of a lack of confidence within the team but did concede that at present they are not winning the moments in games that matter.
As they attacked Brisbane early John Sutton's short ball to Tyrell Fuimaono missed the mark as did Robbie Farah's pass to Sam Burgess close to the line but the skipper remains confident wins will follow if the effort is repeated.
"People are quick to jump on the back of the season but physically we've been in every game bar two or three," Burgess said.
"Certainly tonight we turned up ready to play. I thought the Broncos were good, took their chances at times and I think we probably gave them a couple of cheap tries and at the end of the day that cost us the game. We have to find a way to stop that.
"We had strong belief tonight. We were never down and out in the game, we never lost that confidence. We were always within striking distance.
"Certainly you notch a couple of wins up and if the ball might bounce your way, who knows. Certainly the boys are not down on confidence we just continue working hard on what we're doing and if we keep performing the wins are going to come.
"We've just got to find a way to take our chances. Whether it is confidence I'm not sure but there is a lot of belief in the team."