Veteran St George Illawarra big man George Rose has warned his teammates to be wary of Melbourne's big three when they face the Storm on Monday night – but he isn't talking about the famed holy trinity of Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith.
Instead Rose – who spent last season at the Storm, where he played nine NRL games – is referring to an all-Kiwi trio of Jesse Bromwich, Tohu Harris and Kevin Proctor, who were instrumental in New Zealand's recent Four Nations success.
Prompted by questions about whether Melbourne was on the decline, Rose went in to bat for his former team despite them being his opposition in the opening round of the competition.
"They have been a really good side for the past decade and I think it will be a good test for us to see where we're at based on what we've done in the pre-season. They still have great players there and they continue to have great players coming through year in, year out," Rose said.
"I think guys like Jesse Bromwich, Tohu Harris and Kevin Proctor really stood up last year and they're like another big three coming through and making their mark in every game. The quality of their team across the park though is really good."
In 2014 alone, Bromwich, Harris and Proctor combined for 328.2 metres and 84 tackles per game, and combined to keep Rose out of first grade for much of the year.
With Rose admitting there may be a few texts of banter flicked through to his former teammates, the 31-year-old prop credited astute Storm coach Craig Bellamy for the club's legacy in building successful players.
"He's been a great coach for a long time," Rose said.
"And he's capable of getting so much out of players. It's a credit to him as a coach."
Closer to home, Rose – a Dragons fan growing up in Walgett – is excited to make his Red V debut at Jubilee Oval.
It was way back in 2004 when the Dragons last kicked off an NRL season in Kogarah, and Rose is genuinely excited to rip in for Paul McGregor's team.
"I actually watched my first St George game at Kogarah and to get the opportunity to play in a Dragons jumper is something I'm really looking forward to," Rose said.
"It will be difficult to wait until Monday though. I like to watch a bit of footy so having to watch games all weekend is going to be difficult – because you have to avoid playing the game before you get to it – I'll be pretty pumped up and will have to contain myself until Monday night."