The South Sydney Rabbitohs are back in the NRL Finals and are ready to make an impact once again when they take on the Melbourne Storm this Friday.
AAMI Park will host the mouthwatering tie, which is expected to kick off the 2018 Finals Series with a bang.
The task ahead
History and stats are not in the Rabbitohs favour for this upcoming clash, with the Red and Green having never beaten the Storm on their own patch.
All up Souths have only conquered the Storm on five occasions with their fifth coming in Round 21 this year.
However, as Head Coach Anthony Seibold has stated many times, this current crop of red and green soldiers are a different type of Rabbit.
Having beaten Melbourne once already this year in scintillating fashion, Souths are one of the best-placed teams to disrupt Storm's charge towards back-to-back titles.
Souths also come into the match with winning momentum, whereas their opponents will need to find an injection boost after missing out on the top spot with a loss to the Penrith Panthers last week.
Funnily enough, this is will be the third time in six years the Rabbitohs and the Storm have faced off in week 1 of a finals series.
The first came in 2012, where the Rabbitohs were beaten by the eventual Premiers 24-6 in Melbourne.
The second matchup came two years later in Souths' winning year with the Red and Green claiming a hard-fought 20-10 win in Sydney.
With the scores locked up at 1-1, it's anyone's guess as to who will come out on top in the 2018 showdown.
There is no doubt the Rabbitohs will once again look to beat their foes through the middle with the Burgess trio running rampant back in Round 21.
However, it's the battle between the two number 9's, which could play a major factor in this Finals Series matchup.
After his retirement from international footy, Cameron Smith has opened the door for Souths hooker Damien Cook to inherit his Australian Kangaroos' jumper.
Whilst age may be on his side, Cook, will have to be at his best when coming up against one of the greats in Smith, who has shown no signs of slowing down despite loosening the 'play load' this season.
Both players are instrumental to the functioning of the team but both offer different styles.
Out of dummy-half, Cook has torn teams apart with his speed and his movement, whilst Smith's game management is one of the best in the business.
Another monster battle in this game will be between Souths' Club captain Greg Inglis and Melbourne fullback Billy Slater.
Both are so integral to their sides' set up and offer not just a skilful presence on the field but an incredible amount of mental and motivational presence.
What to expect
One thing to expect from this matchup is that it is going to be one hell of a battle between two teams who in their own right can make it all the way in 2018.
From 1 to 17 there is talent on both sides of the field, each with the ability to win a match at any moments notice.
Whilst the ball is in Melbourne's court to take advantage of the home crowd, the South Sydney Rabbitohs will be well up for the challenge of disrupting a Storm outfit low on confidence after they missed the chance to take out the Minor Premiership.