Even though Melbourne are on an eight-game winning streak, Craig Bellamy insists it's the Rabbitohs who are the competition's benchmark leading into Friday's heavyweight clash at ANZ Stadium.
South Sydney shot into minor premiership contention with a run of nine consecutive wins before a loss to the Wests Tigers two weeks ago and a last-gasp victory over the Eels last round.
"Souths have probably been the benchmark for the last six or eight weeks," Bellamy said.
"The last couple of weeks, they probably haven't been quite where they were earlier. But you know they're going to come back again. They've got a lot of experience in that side. A lot of those players played in 2014 in a premiership-winning team.
"We've been reasonably happy with our defence the last few weeks, but it will be another test, a different test, a bigger test tomorrow night.
"They're obviously – the three Burgess boys are really big guys. They're very effective running the ball. Sam's got a bit of ball playing in him as well. Then you've got Damien (Cook) off the back of that with dummy-half runs, they're really hard to handle."
Rabbitohs v Storm - Round 21
Bellamy is focused on another polished performance with the finals beckoning.
"At the end of the day it's getting close to the end of the season," he said.
"I think at this stage, we're going to be in the top eight. I'd like to think we're just trying to improve our consistency, and doing thing the things we see as important.
"We need to work our game plan around our strengths as a team and as individuals as well. It's important each game we take it on our merits. We're just trying to get better as we go on."
"Having actually played a few games with an Immortal feels good. It was great for Mal to win that award, and for Ricky as well to join the Hall of Fame.
"Well deserved and two guys I know really well and thrilled for them."