Luke Lewis expects reigning premiers North Queensland to bring the very best out of the table-topping Sharks on Monday night.
Lewis's Cronulla side are shooting for 10 straight wins against the Cowboys and admitted they'll have to be a completely different team to the one that edged out the Bulldogs in the dying seconds earlier in the week.
North Queensland have won four of their past six games against the Sharks and will be their biggest threat yet to their win streak that dates back to late-March.
In fact Lewis couldn't single out any one threat from the Cowboys as the Sharks' main concern after their last start 30-point win over the Knights.
"You always lift when you play against the premiers and it's something we'll be hoping to do this weekend. They bring the best out of you North Queensland," Lewis said.
"You're coming up against the best halfback in the world, they have one of the best forward packs in the game – if not the best – including Granville out of dummy half.
"When you're coming up against the good sides, you need to play just as good if not better. I really believe that's what brings the best out of you.
"The Bulldogs really tested us on the weekend and we were a little bit flat so hopefully we can build on our energy until we play again on Monday."
The 16-year NRL veteran hardly raised an eyebrow when quizzed on being the hunted rather than the hunter.
The Sharks haven't featured atop the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder since 2000 prior to a fortnight ago but Lewis himself maintained that nothing has changed in the club's mindset.
The 32-year-old's time at the top of the table has been rather fleeting throughout his storied career.
The last time Lewis featured in a team topping the NRL was way back in Round 5, 2004 – a few months after his former Penrith side's premiership-winning successes the year prior.
"It is what it is. Everyone knows when you're sitting at the top, everyone you come up against seems to lift," Lewis said.
"I don't think we're hunted though. We need to go out there and not think about that – we have to worry about us and what we can control.
"Sometimes we don't get that right and that's what puts us behind the eight ball. We can't worry about other focuses like being the hunted and being the team to beat."