Towering South Sydney forward Sam Burgess has dipped his cap to Melbourne and New Zealand front-rower Jesse Bromwich, anointing him one of the NRL's top forwards.
With the Rabbitohs shifting their focus from their rout of the Gold Coast to their scintillating showdown with the Storm on Friday night, Burgess – the 15-Test veteran for England and Great Britain – says he will be wary of the Kiwi front-rower who is averaging 144 metres per game this season.
"Melbourne has been great. Jesse Bromwich is probably one of the standout players in the competition. Sometimes he doesn't get the accolades he deserves – he's probably one of the best front-rowers in the comp," Burgess said.
"It's going to be a great challenge for us, and his brother as well – Kenny's been going great – and Tohu Harris... so it's another great [forward] battle for us."
Burgess further asserts that Melbourne as a whole won't be taken lightly despite their surprisingly indifferent start to the season. It was only last week that the Victorians found themselves out of the top eight for the first time in well over a decade.
A litmus test beckons for the Rabbitohs as they look to consolidate their place in the top eight after smashing the Titans 40-18 last Saturday night.
"We knew [Gold Coast] were going to be a good team so it was pleasing to get a win, and defensively again, I thought we were quite good... but we still let in 18 points so there will be a few things to work on for Melbourne," Burgess said.
"The competition is an unbelievable place – every week is a humongous challenge – every team's improving, week in, week out; every player's improving week in, week out.
"The competition's just growing; we're doing the same. Every game's tough so you have to be well prepared with the right attitude and we'll do that on Friday night."
Much like Burgess, Rabbitohs teammate Jason Clark has noted that he isn't reading much into Melbourne's form, adding he's more worried about how he'll play in comparison to the class across the board for the Storm.
"They've got that name and that experience – they are always regarded highly in my book... obviously in the past what they've done has been enormous and for this week we have to worry about ourselves and hopefully get the win," Clark told NRL.com.
"It's a test. Melbourne's been the benchmark for quite a few years now and it's going to be a real good game. If I can have a good game against those blokes, who are representative players, I'll be happy."
Having spent the early stages of the season on the shelf after off-season surgery on his ankle, Clark is just happy to be back in first-grade.
"I started the year a bit slow... so I'm still finding my feet and I'm hoping to improve each week. Wherever the coach finds a spot for me I'll be happy. You can't complain about being on the bench, that's for sure."
A good game from the solid Clark will help the 24-year-old maintain his spot in the Rabbitohs team with the likes of experienced duo Joe Picker and Ben Lowe nipping at his heels.