Brisbane skipper Jade North has attributed the Roar's stunning A-League turnaround to heart, pride and John Aloisi to defy low expectations and cashed-up rivals.
Looking for a fourth straight win on Saturday against Perth Glory to potentially top the table, the Roar sit second despite their pre-season ownership chaos which saw players and staff go unpaid.
Even with payments now up to date, Brisbane are operating well below the budgets of the four big-name Melbourne and Sydney clubs.
According to player payment figures revealed by News Corp, the Roar's combined salaries are $2 million less than third-placed Melbourne City and between $550,000 to $700,000 below Sydney FC, the pacesetting Wanderers and champions Melbourne Victory.
"The bigger teams, your Sydneys and your Melbournes, obviously they've got the money but we've got the heart and the pride," North said on Friday.
"We all stuck with each other at the start of the season - we didn't have a training venue at the start of the season - and we've come a long way in such a short period of time."
The veteran defender praised new coach Aloisi's role in soothing the off-field problems by providing the guidance and nous lacking in 2014-15 when the three-time champions only snuck into the playoffs due to the Glory's salary cap breach.
"John has brought a lot of structure, stability and confidence to us this year, unlike last year," he said.
"We can all play with a smile on our face and enjoy our team efforts.
"We're building something special here."
For his part, Aloisi said he knew on arrival that a revival was just around the corner due to the "winners" in his squad and their gnawing frustrations from last season.
While Brisbane have won their past three matches to sit two points behind Western Sydney, Perth also come into the Suncorp Stadium encounter with form and momentum.
The second-last Glory are unbeaten in their past four games and come off an unlucky 1-1 away draw to the Victory.
Brisbane battled hard to win their November clash 1-0 with a late Henrique goal and North expects the visitors to be tough to break down again.
Perth back Alex Grant says defence has been the key to their improvement but has stressed they need to start winning away from after gaining just one point from six games on the road.
THREE KEY POINTS
* Perth have won just two of 16 A-League matches away against the Roar
* The Roar are unbeaten in their last six matches at Suncorp Stadium
* The Glory's last-start 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory gave them their first point on the road this season