North Queensland Fury captain Robbie Fowler says the club can be proud of their first season.
The Fury were undone 2-0 at Melbourne Victory last night, though hit the frame of the goal twice.
Fowler told the Townsville Bulletin: "Even if we don't pay close attention to media, as players we heard what was being spruiked about the team before a ball was even kicked.
"And while I won't go into what all those 'expert' opinions were right now, I think it's fair to say we have exceeded the majority of those negative expectations.
"From our point of view, at the start of the season we just wanted to be competitive, and there is no doubt we have - we've beaten all the teams presently in the top four.
"That's not to say we're satisfied, even in the face of a long injury list, we know there are games we should have won and didn't, so consistency is probably our biggest problem.
"But what is unquestionable is the spirit and character within the squad.
"It's fantastic and we've shown that time and time again, battling against the odds. And there was no better example than our win over the Newcastle Jets on Tuesday.
"If people didn't know we had that sort of character before Tuesday night, then after beating yet another A-League finalist they surely will now.
"It's a good sign for any team and one that can only be positive for season No. 2."