Seven months after Joey Manu's cheekbone was shattered on an emotion-charged night in Brisbane, the Roosters enter Friday's clash with the Rabbitohs with their minds very much on what's to come rather than what went before.
All eyes at Accor Stadium will be on the Roosters centre and the man who collected him high that night and ended both their seasons, Latrell Mitchell, as the latest chapter in the Book of Feuds is written.
Mitchell's six-week ban for the ugly tackle cost him a grand final berth while Manu missed the Roosters' final three games before returning in round one this year.
Roosters coach Trent Robinson, who coached Manu and Mitchell to a premiership in 2019, is adamant his man has moved on and won't be distracted by any of the the pre-game hype.
Rabbitohs v Roosters
"The emotion from last year was dealt with last year," Robinson said on Thursday.
"Joey is quite a special guy if you've got to know him, and his ability to be really clear about what’s important to him – family and footy – and he’s really clear about what motivates him and he plays big games well.
"He doesn’t need to rise and fall with any different emotions. I’ve never seen it in him. I’ve seen no changes in him this week. He is as consistent a person as there is."
After a sluggish first-up showing against Newcastle followed by a vastly improved effort against Manly, consistency is a trait Robinson is now chasing from his entire squad.
"We didn't play well enough against Newcastle, we played much better against Manly, and now we're playing round three and it happens to be Souths but it doesn't matter," he said.
"The rivalry is not as big as how we want to become in 2022. That's the most important thing that we want to do this year is become a great team. And so that path happens to be running into a great rival in round three but that’s not going to stop us in what we become.
"I think we have ebbed and flowed in the last couple of years and we haven’t handled that well but that’s not our path this year.
"There is emotion around it but also how you understand how to play your game and put that in the right action is what we're focused on."
Match Highlights: Roosters v Rabbitohs
Such is the history between the two foundation clubs that neither Robinson nor his Rabbitohs counterpart Jason Demetriou will need to bring up the Manu-Mitchell rematch to motivate their men.
Or the Cody Walker-Cooper Cronk sledging furore of 2019 or the ugly Jai Arrow-James Tedesco incident in Origin the following year.
With the Bunnies yet to register a win in 2022 and the Roosters yet to find their rhythm, the desire for victory will far outweigh any desire for retribution.
"I understand the emotion around it but we could be playing 14 other teams this weekend and we’d be really focused on improving like we did last weekend," Robinson said.
"We want to be great tomorrow night because we’re on our path... the early part of the season is really key for us."