South Sydney players are relishing the shot at a proper last-round finals tune up against arch-rivals Sydney Roosters to ensure they're battle-hardened before October.
The Rabbitohs' 2-6 record against fellow NRL finalists this year is better than only Cronulla's highly-publicised struggles, claiming wins over only the Sharks and Parramatta.
Penrith (7-1-1) and Melbourne (8-3) have the best record against all finalists, while the Roosters and Parramatta are the other teams with winning records against top-eight counterparts.
But after being shocked by Canterbury last week, Friday night is now the best chance for the Bunnies to prove themselves before a likely trip to Newcastle in the opening week of the finals.
"I think it's good," prop Tom Burgess said.
"You want to be playing against the top teams and especially teams that are in the finals as well.
"It helps. Everyone is playing for something.
"You want to be playing against those players and two-times reigning champions is a good start."
Friday's clash will also carry extra meaning for several players.
While Burgess' brother Sam created highlights running through Sonny Bill Williams on his last NRL return, other youngsters were still starstruck by him.
The Rabbitohs posted a photo on Tuesday of a young Cameron Murray appearing besides Williams at a junior clinic last decade, after it was sent to the club by his godfather.
Murray will move to an edge this week to fill in for the suspended Jaydn Su'A and is unlikely to mark Williams directly.
But he knows as well as anyone how dangerous Williams is threatening to be now he's getting back into the flow of the NRL.
"I was pretty starstruck as a kid, it's pretty special I'm in the position I am now," Murray said.
"(But) the situation we're in now we're there to compete and to win.
"Obviously he has been someone I have looked up to and admired for a long time, and I am sure it's the same for a lot of young players.
"But come Friday it's game faces on."
THE NRL'S TOP-EIGHT RECORDS
SYDNEY ROOSTERS: 5-4
SOUTH SYDNEY: 2-6
Australian Associated Press