Melbourne big man Nelson Asofa-Solomona is primed for the battle of the benches on Friday night, aware that Sydney Roosters enforcer Jared Warea-Hargreaves has been setting the standard.
Warea-Hargreaves' mammoth effort in his 44 minutes at the SCG helped spark the Roosters' fight-back to secure a 26-18 win over Cronulla last round.
The 32-year-old ran an incredible 207 metres in 21 runs and laid 23 tackles.
Asofa-Solomona is still adjusting to his new role after being a regular starter last season and felt he hadn't been at his best.
But he was embracing the challenge of lining up against the veteran Rooster at AAMI Park.
"He's a great player and the leader of their pack and has been for such a long time," Asofa-Solomona told AAP.
"It's always an interesting match up between our packs - that's where it's going to be won or lost - though the middle.
"Back in the day I think that coming off the bench wasn't as valued but now it's a massive advantage if you've got some punch coming off the bench and when you've got a player like Hargreaves coming off the bench bringing physical presence, it's something we're going to have to take a look at through the week."
Asofa-Solomona said he got to know his rival - for better or worse - when they roomed together on New Zealand Test duty.
"I played with him when I debuted in the World Cup in 2017 and when we went to Colorado and played England in 2018 I was rooming with him and that was a good experience, being with one of the elite forwards in the game," Asofa-Solomona said.
"He's a great fella off the field - he's a grub on it - but in saying that we all have our moments."
Asofa-Solomona, who himself was sin-binned and fined for his involvement in a fracas against the Bulldogs last round, said there was always extra spice in the Roosters matches since their grand final win over Melbourne.
"Since 2018 - that's well behind us but that still stings and I think it will for my whole career," he said.
Australian Associated Press