Rabbitohs centre Daryl Millard says he couldn't have hoped to be in a better environment than the South Sydney club in his return to the NRL after a five-year hiatus, praising his high profile teammates' professional approach.
As he gets ready to face off against the Bulldogs in a huge Good Friday clash, Millard – who last played in the NRL in 2009 with the Bulldogs – said South Sydney "ticks all the boxes that could possibly be ticked".
"It's good to be in such a professional environment at such a great club - I'm really enjoying my opportunity," he said.
"It's a really good environment to improve as a rugby league player."
Millard got his chance in Round 4 against the Eels due to a broken hand to incumbent centre Dylan Walker, and unfortunately for him the match was also the club's first loss in any form of rugby league since Round 26 last year.
With a second jersey beckoning, this time against last year's vanquished Grand Final opponents, Millard said he will be doing all he can to take his opportunity.
"You just feel the expectation within the club - everything's win-win-win here so when there is a loss we just try and bounce back as quickly as possible," he said.
Millard said he feels comfortable slotting into the Rabbitohs' right edge, a flank now frequented by former Sea Eagle Glenn Stewart.
"I trained there with the boys all pre-season, I know all the plays," he said.
"Playing with guys like Glenn Stewart and Greg Inglis - they make rugby league easy sometimes so it's good being around those guys."
He noted a change in the game in the time he had been in the UK Super League with Catalans.
"Probably just the size of the athletes is something I noticed. When I first started coming through Jamal Idris was coming through. Now it seems like there's a whole heap of Jamal Idrises out there," he said.
Flying winger Alex Johnston said while Kangaroos representative Walker was a huge loss, it was a benefit to have someone of Millard's ability to come in.
"Dylan's a dynamic that he brings in the team that's real great but we've got 'Dazza' that's come in and we have a lot of depth," Johnston said.
Johnston added he is hoping to extend his deal with the Rabbitohs past 2015 despite a long-term goal of playing fullback in first grade.
"At the moment I'm on the wing and I love doing my job at the moment, I'm getting passes from the best in the world in Greggy [Inglis] at the back and I don't mind doing that," he said.
"Nothing's been signed yet, we're still negotiating, that's being done behind the scenes by my manager... I'm a Souths junior, I love playing for Souths.
"Playing fullback is a dream of mine one day, there are doors opening everywhere but first things first and that's playing footy."
Johnston, like the rest of his teammates, was playing down any talk of a grand final "rematch".
"That game's passed, it's a whole different ball game this year, we're just looking to play our footy this week," he said.
In-form halfback Adam Reynolds said he was hoping not to get into a field goal shootout with a Canterbury side that downed the Rabbitohs by a point last Good Friday – and also beat Wests Tigers by a field goal last week.
"Let's just hope it doesn't get that way mate. Last year's in the past now and we're just looking forward to turning up now and ready to play," Reynolds said.
"We were disappointing last week, we'll set out to prepare better this week and turn up a lot better and ready to play.
"You always want to play in those [big] games. It's good to see where we're at both physically and mentally, they're a big side and so are we so no doubt there's going to be a few fireworks on the night."