Stephen Moore felt a sense of relief after Australia ended a miserable run of six games without a win by beating South Africa 23-17 in the Rugby Championship on Saturday.
The Wallabies were outclassed by New Zealand in both Bledisloe Cup games after they were whitewashed by England on home soil in June, but finally got up and running for 2016 in Brisbane.
Michael Cheika's men trailed by 11 points less than a quarter into the match at Suncorp Stadium, but Adam Coleman claimed his first international try and Bernard Foley also touched down as well as booting 13 points to give Australia a long-awaited victory.
Wallabies captain Moore hopes the win will go some way to silencing the critics who have rounded on the players and head coach Cheika amid a poor run of form.
"I suppose a bit of relief but I think [I am] just proud of the team and everyone involved with the team because it's been tough," he said.
"There's been plenty of people outside the group giving their two bob on everything and I think I'm just really proud the way that everyone's hung tight and worked hard and kept preparing as best they possibly can.
"Of course it's nice at the end of the week to get a result like that.
"The way we've stuck at it throughout the campaign is probably the most pleasing thing, when it's been tough."
Cheika praised the character of his side, but knows they have plenty to work on before facing Argentina next weekend.
"I think you even saw that towards the end of the game, we had other opportunities to hit them on the counter, we kicked the ball away - little things like that, just that anxiety of being in front and wanting to stay in front at all costs," he said.
"We need to liberate that a little bit more going into next week, but we're very pleased, in particular for our supporters and our debutants."