Super Rugby AU's reigning champions on their home turf, a week removed from a record-shattering win. It seems a daunting enough task for anyone.
Even more so now than it used to be because Melbourne Rebels inside centre Reece Hodge looks at the ACT Brumbies and sees a side that is "willing to play this year".
Rebels hooker Ed Craig has already signalled the team's intent to "rattle" the Brumbies' set piece when the teams collide at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.
But the Brumbies' dazzling nine-try display that saw them rack up a record victory against the NSW Waratahs last week suggests there is far more to this side than a dominant scrum and lineout.
"Their maul and scrum, set piece is one of their strengths. They're a very structured team but the one thing I've seen throughout the first two weeks is they are also willing to play this year," Hodge said.
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"In [Nic White] and Noah [Lolesio], they've got a nine and 10 who control the game really well and take their opportunities when they're presented. It's going to be a massive battle for us this week.
"We're excited to test ourselves against a Brumbies outfit that has probably clearly been the best team over the first two weeks."
Hodge will again team up with Stacey Ili in a bid to shut down Brumbies duo Irae Simone and Len Ikitau in their round three clash with the hometown favourites lifting fans out of their seats seemingly at will last weekend.
"They've been very impressive, I spent a bit of time with both of them in Wallabies camp throughout the back end of last year and you can see how much Lenny improved over a couple of months," Hodge said.
"In the first two rounds he has played some amazing footy and he is a threat both in attack and defence. Irae has picked up where he left off, last year he was obviously very strong through Super Rugby and he has controlled the game really well in the first two weeks.
"We've got to be right on our game out in the centres matching up against them, and hopefully we can show some strengths of our own on the weekend."
SUPER RUGBY AU ROUND THREE
Saturday: ACT Brumbies v Melbourne Rebels at Canberra Stadium, 7.45pm. Broadcast: Live on Gem and Stan Sport. Tickets from Ticketek.
ACT Brumbies squad: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Connal McInerney, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Cadeyrn Neville, 6. Rob Valetini, 7. Jahrome Brown, 8. Pete Samu, 9. Nic White, 10. Noah Lolesio, 11. Mack Hansen, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Len Ikitau, 14. Andy Muirhead, 15. Tom Banks. Replacements: 16. Lachlan Lonergan, 17. Harry Lloyd, 18. Tom Ross, 19. James Tucker, 20. Tom Cusack, 21. Ryan Lonergan, 22. Reesjan Pasitoa, 23. Solomone Kata.
Melbourne Rebels squad: 1. Cabous Eloff, 2. James Hanson, 3. Pone Fa'amausili, 4. Ross Haylett-Petty, 5. Trevor Hosea, 6. Joshua Kemeny, 7. Richard Hardwick, 8. Michael Wells, 9. Joe Powell, 10. Matt To'omua, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Reece Hodge, 13. Stacey Ili, 14. Lachlan Anderson, 15. Tom Pincus. Replacements: 16. Ed Craig, 17. Isaac Aedo Kailea, 18. Lucio Sordoni, 19. Steve Cummins, 20. Robert Leota, 21. James Tuttle/Brad Wilkin/Tom Nowlan (TBC), 22. Frank Lomani, 23. Glen Vaihu.
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