With the Sydney Roosters set to kick off their 2020 NRL campaign on Saturday night, the forward pack are under no illusions of what needs to be done against the Penrith Panthers.
Round 1 Team Talk with Craig Fitzgibbon
The NRL is one of the toughest competitions in the world and the opening blow won't be cushioned in Round 1 for the Roosters, who will be on enemy territory.
Foundations are set during the pre-season though, and Nat Butcher is pleased with the preparations so far for the new year.
"It’s been a long tough pre-season, so I’m glad that footy is here now," Butcher said with excitement.
"It’s exciting for me because it’s my first Round 1 NRL game.
"World Club Challenge was great, preparations have been strong and now just ready to get out there."
With pre-season officially wrapping last Thursday, preparations for the Panthers clash officially kicked in on Monday morning.
While there is homework to be done on the opposition, the importance remains on sticking to the Roosters style of play, no matter the opposition.
Starting in the second row this week, Sitili Tupouniua echoed those sentiments when asked about the week's preparations.
"This week is about getting ready, building combinations, mental and physical preparation," Sitili said.
"I’ve been lucky to have a really good pre-season, got to start in the World Club Challenge and that was unreal.
"We need to focus on what we do well, and get back into forming those connections."
"We’ve got to play our Roosters style through the middle, defend well and be aware of their big forwards."
Another forward excited to return to the regular season grind is Isaac Liu, who enters his eighth season with the Club in 2020.
When asked if he was ready to take on another rugby league season, there was no hesitation from the Iceman.
"I’m always excited to play, but this year I feel like I was really ready for it to come around," Liu said with a smile.
"It’s a big one first up, we’ll need start our defence off strong, prepare to grind and do the tough stuff up the middle."
The Panthers forward pack has only improved this season with the addition of former Roosters prop Zane Tetevano.
While players always look forward to battles with former teammates, the Roosters are wary of Tetevano's impact after his three seasons with the Tricolours.
"I was really close with Zane when he was here and he helped me heaps with my game," Sitili said when asked about the match-up with Tetevano.
"He runs hard and tackles hard, so we’ll fight to stop him there."
Isaac further added that while he will be a tough ask, he's ready for a match-up with his good friend and former teammate.
"I’m looking forward to it.
"He’s such a tough style of player, so we’ll probably put a few shots on each other.
He’ll be playing his heart out, and I’ll be doing the same.Isaac Liu on Zane Tetevano