The Rabbitohs have edged into the top eight courtesy of a hard-fought 20-16 win over the fast-finishing North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.
Souths scored three early tries to jump out to a 20-0 lead mid-way through the first half, but the Cowboys sprung to life in the second stanza to put some bite back into the contest.
The visitors scored the only three tries of the second half, including Ash Graham's second four-pointer with five minutes remaining to put the Cowboys within striking distance in the final stages.
But Souths held their nerve to confirm the club's 1000th premiership victory.
Big games from second-rower Dave Taylor, hooker Issac Luke and full-back Greg Inglis laid the platform for Souths, particularly in the first half.
Inglis gave the Bunnies a dream start in the third minute when he wrapped around pivot John Sutton, then reached out to plant the ball over the line.
Half-back Adam Reynolds landed the wide-range conversion to confirm the home side's early 6-0 lead.
Luke continued his run of dummy-half tries in the 11th minute when he muscled through a sea of white jerseys from close-range to help the Rabbitohs to a 12-0 lead following Reynolds' conversion.
Souths increased their lead by a further two points five minutes later courtesy of a Reynolds' penalty goal, before Taylor was rewarded for some barnstorming early charges with a soft try from close-range 19 minutes in.
The Bunnies maintained the 20-point advantage for the remainder of the half, but their impressive defence was finally cracked in the 48th minute when hooker James Segeyaro fought his way over from dummy-half to claim the Cowboys' first points of the match.
Penalties and subsequent field position were going the Cowboys' way and the visitors were well and truly back in the contest in the 55th minute when Graham crossed for his eighth try of the season in the right corner.
Skipper Johnathan Thurston landed the sideline conversion and the visitors found themselves trailing by just eight points.
Taylor went painstakingly close to sealing the match for the Bunnies on two occasions late in the game, before Graham edged the Cowboys closer with his second try in the 75th minute.
But Souths survived the final moments much to the delight of the majority of 12,213 crowd in attendance.
South Sydney Rabbitohs 20
Tries: Inglis, Luke, Taylor
Conversions: Reynolds 2
Penalty goals: Reynolds 1
North Queensland Cowboys 16
Tries: Segeyaro. Graham
Conversions: Thurston 2