Melbourne Rebels skipper Scott Higginbotham believes that Friday's win over the Force is proof of the progress made by the side this year.
Higginbotham described the 21-17 victory as a game the Rebels would have lost in 2014.
Defeating the Force takes the Rebels to two wins from four games after their bye week, a strong start to the season for the side introduced to the competition in 2011.
Next up for Higginbotham's side is a home game with the touring Lions next Friday.
"The chat out there post-game was that if we played this same game last year we would have lost it so that's good growth from us and we will focus on winning a game at home now," said Higginbotham.
"The Lions are another prospect, they had a good win against the Bulls – they are by no means an easy side.
"I think we showed tonight with two injuries in the forward pack, we have a lot better depth in the side – guys can just pick up a role when other blokes go off and get the job done."
Rebels boss Tony McGahan was equally delighted, giving his players plenty of praise.
"I'm really delighted with the end result and the players' attitude, the way they stuck to the task tonight," added McGahan.
"Playing the Force at home, they have built up a really good record and made it tough to get a result here.
"We knew we would get their best tonight so for us to play some good rugby in the first half and have some really good continuity to start the game then withstand their pressure at the set piece and their kicking at the back end – the players deserve a lot of plaudits for the way they withstood that.
"For us to come in tonight and get a win on the road, especially internally for the group, it gives them direction that they are going the right way and the hard work they are doing – there is results there."