Having seen Jesse Ramien dominate since they were kids in Coonamble, Braidon Burns knows marking the robust Sharks centre on Saturday night will be a challenge.
Burns and Ramien grew up together and are set to clash when the Rabbitohs host Cronulla to start their seasons at ANZ Stadium.
The Coonamble Bears juniors played in the same teams until Ramien moved before his teenage years to attend Hunter Sports High School.
"He was always the standout; I was always the chubby kid that wanted to play five-eighth," Burns told NRL.com.
"He was always that strong runner. He did a lot of sports growing up and he was a lot stronger than everyone else.
"You can see that now, he's still pretty strong.
"To play against him in the NRL is a big deal and I'm sure a lot of people in Coonamble will be watching."
Burns and Ramien faced off in the now-defunct NYC when they played for Penrith and Manly respectively.
Reynolds: I'll back teammates on challenging calls
The pair were NRL opponents once in 2018 but the South Sydney flyer left the field with a knee problem in a 22-14 win over the Sharks.
"[The injury] was a bit unfortunate. This time I'll be on his edge so it will be a good competition," Burns said.
"I might try to catch up with him during the week and get a coffee. I've caught up with him a few times out in Cronulla, that's where we're both living."
After an ill-fated season at Newcastle, Ramien has returned to the Sharks with a point to prove.
The 22-year-old was ranked ninth in the NRL for tackle busts per game last year with five, but Burns believes he can stop him.
"He'll be tough to contain but then again we've got our strengths as well," he said.
Burns only managed nine games in 2019 as he struggled with hamstring issues but he's champing at the bit to slot into a gun backline bolstered by the recruitment of Latrell Mitchell at fullback.
"Obviously we've got a lot of stars... A lot of them have played for NSW, Australia, stuff like that," he said.
"That's obviously going to be in the limelight and they're going to be the main attraction.
"While it is good that I'm flying under the radar, hopefully I do play well and stay on the field. That's my main goal this year."