Brisbane Roar issued a statement of their A-League intent with a clinical 1-0 win over Melbourne City.
Jamie Maclaren's second goal in as many games was all the Roar needed to clinch a third successive win and rise to second after a quality display at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
The result was built on defence, with Brisbane becoming the first team to stop City's star-studded attack from scoring this season.
But if anything the scoreline flattered the visitors, who struggled to contain the Roar's surprise counter-attacking tactics.
The crowd of 20,198 was Brisbane's biggest regular-season attendance since Sydney FC marquee Alessandro Del Piero's visit in October 2013 and was boosted by the appearance of Tim Cahill, who played the full match.
However, neither Socceroo great Cahill nor strike partner Bruno Fornaroli made much impact as City mustered no shots on target.
The Roar, who usually like to dominate possession at home, had just 37 percent of the ball in the first half but looked by far the more threatening side going forward. Seemingly content to sit back and mop up opposition mistakes, their uncharacteristic approach paid dividends.
Maclaren's 11th-minute goal came from one such counter-surge, featuring key contributions from Brett Holman, Thomas Broich and Tommy Oar.
Holman carved out the opening with a neat dribble, Broich provided the killer pass to Oar, and the fringe Socceroo winger's stray touch as he rounded goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis was rescued and then smashed into the back of the net by Maclaren.
Brisbane had ample opportunities to add a second goal but lacked the composure to convert, although Bouzanis did save well in the 85th minute to deny Maclaren, who will join the Socceroos next week before their World Cup qualifier in Thailand.
City had their moments in the second half but couldn't crack the Roar's strong rearguard, with centre-back Luke DeVere particularly impressive.