When South Sydney were on the end of a 50-0 defeat at the hands of Melbourne earlier this NRL season the Rabbitohs chalked it up to a bad day at the office and aimed to quickly move on.
Two weeks later, however, Wayne Bennett's men were again humiliated with Penrith racking up a 56-12 win in Dubbo.
One flogging was an aberration but two in three weeks against last year's grand finalists was something that couldn't be ignored.
"The Melbourne one we pretty much did just let go. We said there's nothing to get out of that game, don't even bother," Rabbitohs hooker Damien Cook said.
"Once it happened again obviously there's something wrong happening there to be beaten by two good sides by that much.
"We changed a few things - little things - around. The way we defend and stuff like that.
"Playing the long game, Wayne's big on that.
"You wouldn't want to start the season off bad with a few losses in a row but it wouldn't bother him either.
"He knows you don't win the grand final early in the year."
Since that loss to the Panthers, the Rabbitohs have tasted defeat just once in their following 14 matches.
An upset victory over Penrith in Townsville two weeks ago put the Rabbitohs into a preliminary final for a fourth-straight season.
After falling one game short of the grand final in the past three seasons, Cook insists 2021 has a different vibe heading into Friday's clash with Manly at Suncorp Stadium.
"This year I've got a lot of confidence in what we're doing and how we're playing as well," he said.
"We've been a lot more consistent going in to this final series than we have in the past.
"Sometimes when you win a comp, they talk about you need a bit of luck on your side.
"We're feeling pretty fresh, everyone's fit and ready to go and playing well and playing consistent too."
Australian Associated Press