A win would have seen them move into equal first and a win is what they got, as the South Sydney Rabbitohs spoiled the club farewell for Canterbury Bulldogs skipper Michael Ennis in the process.
In what was an overall gritty game, Souths eventually got the win, coming from behind to defeat the Bulldogs on the back of another terrific game from Englishman, Sam Burgess.
The win may have come with a bitter taste, though – both Sam Burgess and Chris McQueen left the field due to injury. Burgess eventually returned, but his hip injury will be monitored by club staff in the coming days.
To leave a further bitter taste in the mouths of Souths fans, Adam Reynolds – who kicked the decisive field goal for Souths – will come under scrutiny from the match review panel after being put on report for a lifting tackle.
Fellow team-mate Issac Luke will face similar scrutiny, put on report for lashing out at a Bulldogs player with his foot.
The big fanfare was all around Ennis, though, and being his club farewell, the fans and the team were keen to send him out on a high, though it was not to be.
He made the crowd cheer, however, with a great early tackle to set the tone as well as scoring a try after he dummied from dummy half and cruised over to score.
Despite Souths win, coach Michael Maguire is still refusing to get carried away.
“That’s up to us, really. I mean, one thing at the moment, we haven’t done anything yet,” Maguire said.
“We’re performing and we’ve got to keep growing as a team, but we’re well aware that we’re going to be playing against a very good team in a week’s time. And that’s going to be our focus because that’s what’s in front of us now.”
Even the players are distancing themselves from the premiership talk, with stand-in skipper Greg Inglis pointing out that such thoughts are not in the players minds right now.
“To be totally honest, we’ve got a good bunch of leadership group in our club and we put all that aside. That’s in the background where we can’t control,” Inglis said.
“But what we can control is what we believe in and what we do each and every week. So that’s all put aside. Our focus is the Roosters now. We can’t control what’s been said in the papers, we can only control what we do.”
Knowing that his side had every opportunity to win the game, Dogs coach Des Hasler lamented his side for their poor ball control that led to errors.
“We were probably guilty of too many unforced errors,” said Hasler.
Aside from that, Hasler was very critical of the referees performance.
“I thought the referee was poor,” said a disappointed Hasler.
“It was very, very poor. It’ll take more than a bunker to fix this mob.”
When prompted, Hasler went on to give reasons as to why he thought that was the case.
“I think when James Graham carried the ball and collided with a Souths player, it should have been called to play on,” said Hasler.
“It’s the little things that have a huge impact.”