Ecstatic ... the Rabbitohs fans, who could be heard singing throughout the match, celebrate the 38-16 win against the Raiders at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Brendan Esposito
'So this is what it feels like to win a finals match,'' one member of of the Rabbitohs supporters group, The Burrow, says to no one in particular.
Suddenly, there are nervous looks from those around him in Bay 146 at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
Even though the Rabbitohs are leading 14-0 after 25 minutes, 41 seasons of disappointment has taught these diehard South Sydney supporters not to celebrate too early.
When they eventually do the scene is one of overwhelming joy as fans whose only thing in common is a love for the club News Ltd couldn't kill and their ''Rabbitohs Til I Die'' scarfs embrace anyone wearing a Souths jersey.
''I was born into a Bunnies family so I was there the last time we won a semi-final in 1987, but I would have only been 11 years old,'' said Josh Kemp, who is one of The Burrow's song leaders.
Yesterday, he and others were at South Sydney Leagues Club trying to organise tickets for fans wanting to sit with The Burrow at Saturday's grand final qualifier against Canterbury.
The 1700 who sat under the group's banner in the south-east corner of ANZ Stadium for the Raiders match was the most ever and demand is likely to exceed availability on Saturday night.
It will be far worse the following week if Souths are still a chance of adding to their tally of 20 premierships - more than any other club, despite the Rabbitohs not having won a grand final since 1971.
''I think a lot of people see that it is a great atmosphere and they feel safe because they are amongst Souths fans,'' another Burrow leader, Brent Rustan, said.
From kick-off until full-time last Saturday night, the singing and chanting rarely stopped as The Burrow members belted out tunes about the club and the players. After John Sutton put Adam Reynolds over for the opening try in the eighth minute, they sang ''Super Johnny Sutton'' followed by ''There's only one Adam Reynolds'' as the halfback lined up the conversion attempt.
Whenever Souths are on the attack they chant ''Michael Crocker's Rabbitoh army'', while another favourite, sung to the tune of Yellow Submarine, has the chorus: ''We all follow the mighty red and green, the greatest football team, the world has ever seen.''
When Andrew Everingham scored in the 25th minute they sang ''Andrew Everingham, he's on the wing, you'll hear us sing, Andrew Everingham'', but it was soon after that those cautioning against celebrating too early appeared to be right as Canberra scored back-to-back tries.
For a while the singing stopped and the focus turned to sledging the referees and the opposition, with calls of ''lolly legs'' as Raiders fullback Josh Dugan kicked for goal.
But order was restored when Sam Burgess crossed just before half-time and The Burrow sang: ''We've got a team full of Burgesses.''
After cheering their team to three more tries in the second half, they felt confident enough with five minutes left to start singing their victory song: ''Botany Road, take me home, to the place I belong, Redfern, South Sydney.''
Until next Saturday, of course, when they will return to ANZ Stadium full of voice.