Damien Cook had a simple way of describing the inspiration behind the Rabbitohs' return to form in Friday's 22-20 win over the Broncos when he said "we were sick of losing".
After three consecutive losses prior to Friday night, and just seven wins from 10 games, it is easy to understand where the South Sydney hooker was coming from.
After the win the NSW rake had good cause for optimism that the Rabbitohs, now back in the top four, can build some momentum into the finals on the back of his combination with halves Cody Walker and Adam Reynolds.
The spine trio combined for a classic try in the second half on the back of a Cook dart, great support by Reynolds and then a sublime kick for Walker to read his halves partner's mind to perfection and follow through to score. The trio worked as well together as a unit as they have for months.
Cook was man of the match against Brisbane after being the catalyst for two tries and scoring one himself, along with a try-saving tackle at the death on Corey Oates. He said there was a great determination by the key members of the spine before the Broncos clash to up the ante.
"We are always having discussions here and there but after the Bulldogs [loss] we all agreed that we were sick of it and we wanted to play some great footy," Cook said.
"We have some great players around us who will do anything for us and we had to make sure we were all on the same page. My favourite moment of tonight was when all three of us linked up when Cody scored. That just shows we are all on the same page and all in sync. That is all we needed. Now we have to savour that momentum and take it into next week.
"Coming into this game – the Broncos away, the Warriors over there and the Roosters – that is a good chance for us to play ourselves into really good form. If we are to win all those games we must be playing some good footy. That is what we need to do at this time of the season before heading to the finals. Top four is very important as everyone knows and we needed that win to make sure we were in that top four."
The Rabbitohs had taken it right up to Melbourne in their round 21 loss but Cook conceded the players "let ourselves down" in last week's defeat to the Bulldogs.
"We were sick of losing and sick of not playing good footy when we had such a great start to the year. We know what we are capable of and we haven't been playing that way. We know we have got the side for it and it showed tonight," he said.
"Brisbane were in good form and we were missing some good names. If we are going to be a team that makes a threat for this competition we had to start it today and that is what we did."
Coach Wayne Bennett knows from experience that momentum is crucial leading into any finals series. The Rabbitohs coach was confident the win over the Broncos would not be a one-off.
"We needed to win like we did against a good team and to give us a bit more confidence about what we were doing. We had six first graders out and it was a big effort by those boys," Bennett said.
"We have a good squad there and we have just got to do it. I am confident we will. We have got two games to go in the season and we are in a great place to be in the top four again. I am confident we won't take the foot off the throat now."
Another pleasing aspect of the win for Bennett was that not just the big guns fired. Prop Liam Knight was outstanding up front for the Rabbitohs in the absence of Sam Burgess and took it right up to Payne Haas and Matt Lodge.
"Knight was really, really good. I thought he was in the category of the Damien Cooks and amongst our best," Bennett said.
"He wasn't looking over his shoulder and saying 'Sam is not playing' or 'Tom is not playing'. He just got out there and did his job."