Brisbane Roar showed they will be genuine championship contenders this season if their spirited scoreless draw against A-League heavyweights Sydney FC is any gauge.
The point earned away lifted Roar to second ahead of Macarthur FC on goal difference and extended their unbeaten run to five matches.
The Sky Blues had the better of the openings at Jubilee Stadium on Saturday night, with Rhyan Grant hitting the woodwork twice and Brisbane goalkeeper Jamie Young making a couple of crucial saves.
But the Roar had several periods of play where they looked very comfortable against the A-League champions and could easily have snatched a winner.
In-form attacker Dylan Wenzel-Halls went close on a couple of occasions and substitute Golgol Mebrahtu was a constant menace in his first outing of the season.
The Roar's heady championship-winning days under Ange Postecoglou a decade back might yet be some way off, but Warren Moon's youthful side are clearly on the right track.
"We are not finished yet in terms of where we want to be," said Moon.
"Obviously you look at Sydney as the benchmark, the standard-bearer, so that was a really good test for us and I feel we acquitted ourselves really well.
"Whatever people think about whether we are a good side or not, we know we are progressing."
It was the first time Brisbane had been held scoreless since the opening day of the season, having racked up 13 goals in their previous four matches.
"We want to be a little bit better with the ball, so we will look to improve that for next week," Moon said.
"I look at it (playing against Sydney) with excitement, to see our boys test themselves.
"They (Sydney) are the champions of Australia for good reason."
The result left Sydney FC in the unaccustomed position of fifth, though they have played three and two matches less than leaders Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane respectively.
The Sky Blues, though, have plenty of reason for optimism as they enter a busy period of eight matches over the coming five weeks.
"It is hard to build momentum when things are stop-start, but now is a great opportunity (to measure ourselves) with a lot of games coming," said Corica.
Prolific Brazilian striker Bobo played the final 30 minutes in his return to the club since a record-breaking goal haul in 2018.
The Brazilian seemed certain to score just four minutes after entering the fray only for Young to just keep the ball out.
"It was his first game in quite a while but I'm pleased with what he did," Corica said.
"He is always in good areas to score goals so is always a dangerous player."