Rabbitohs halfback Adam Reynolds says he's excited by the prospect of playing alongside State of Origin teammate Robbie Farah at club level, describing South Sydney's new recruit as "one of the best hookers in the world".
Following his messy departure from the Wests Tigers last season, Farah joined the Rabbitohs on a two-year deal and will be out to prove a point when he takes on his former teammates in Round 1.
With 247 games worth of experience, as well as 16 State of Origin appearances for the Blues, Farah is one of the most experienced hookers in the NRL but his spot in South Sydney's starting side is far from guaranteed.
Farah will first have to prove he is unencumbered by a biceps injury he suffered in late 2016, and then he must duke it out with the dynamic Damien Cook for first crack at the Rabbitohs No.9 jersey.
Regardless of who gets the nod, Reynolds said the healthy competition was driving both dummy-halves to new heights.
"He and Damien Cook have been pushing each other this whole pre-season. I think the competition is strong there so they're definitely bringing the best out of each other," Reynolds told NRL.com.
"He's played a lot of Origin, he's played for Australia and he's won a comp, so his experience is going to be a big factor here at Souths. He's one of the best hookers in the world and his smarts around the ruck are world class.
"Damien Cook is doing a really good job as well so you can't write him off."
The Rabbitohs will need more than just Farah and Cook to fire if they want to make amends for a disappointing 2016 campaign that saw the cardinal and myrtle fail to make the finals for the first time since 2011.
Round 13 proved to be very unlucky for the Bunnies as a 29-28 golden-point loss to the Titans kick-started a nine-game losing streak that saw their top eight aspirations disappear in front of their eyes.
However, with nothing but pride to play for, the Rabbitohs simplified their game plan and produced the sort of football that saw them crowned champions in 2014.
A four-game winning run to end the season mightn't have meant much at the time, but according to Reynolds it served as a reminder to the team that they were capable of competing at that level each and every week.
"I think everyone knows that's our standard here. We were well below par during those weeks where we were doing it tough," he said.
"We've got a new squad here with some new faces and it's been like a breath of fresh air.
"We've got a really young squad and the competition has been really great here. We're just looking forward to getting through trials and starting the year off strong."
The key, according to Reynolds, is sticking to a mantra that might sound clichéd but has proven effective over the years.
"We use the old motto 'week-to-week' and that's what we truly believe here. If we worry about that then I'm sure we'll be fine," he said.
"If we get things right and we focus on ourselves and the little things that win football games then I think we'll go a long way. In saying that, there's a long road ahead of us so we can't get ahead of ourselves."
This article first appeared on NRL.com