He stood up and went toe to toe with the Burgess brothers in a pivotal career performance against South Sydney last Friday night.
Now towering Knights prop Dan Saifiti has vowed not to take a backward step when he confronts a potentially even greater challenge in Melbourne on Saturday in the absence of injured forwards' leader David Klemmer - the Storm's Kiwi Test front-rower Jesse Bromwich and man-mountain Nelson Asofa-Solomona.
"I'm still a young front-rower but this is my fourth season in [the NRL] so I've got no excuses anymore,"Saifiti told the Newcastle Herald after playing a big part in the win over Souths.
"I feel like I've been playing pretty consistent footy but I want to get better. I want to keep improving and it's [Storm] going to be another big test for all of us."
Saifiti is free to play against the Storm despite being charged by the NRL match-review committee for his part in a wild melee that broke out just before halftime against the Rabbitohs.
He and teammate Lachlan Fitzgibbon and Souths' Tom and Sam Burgess were all sent to the sin-bin following the altercation, which started when Tom Burgess allegedly head-butted the Knights prop.
Tom Burgess was hit with a grade-one striking charge and will be suspended for one game if he pleads guilty with Sam Burgess fined $1350 and Saifiti $1150 for grade one contrary conduct charges. Fitzgibbon was not charged.
It was a fiery confrontation with Saifiti hurling a series of punches at Tom Burgess after believing he was on the receiving end of a cheap shot. Few connected but his intent was clear - to not take a backward step.
The pair came together again in the second half with a big Saifiti tackle on Burgess producing a dropped ball and midway through the half, twin brother George went off with concussion after coming off second best when he went in hard to tackle the Knights prop.
It was a far cry from the past three or four seasons when the big Souths pack have treated the outgunned Knights at various times with contempt.
Saifiti revealed a few simple words before the game from Klemmer, who is sidelined after fracturing his wrist in Origin l in Brisbane last Wednesday night, gave him the confidence to take it to the Rabbitohs pack.
"He just told me he had faith in me and it was a real opportunity for me to stand up," Saifiti said.
"Coming from him, I just took it on board. But it wasn't just me, I thought our whole forward pack did. Me and Jimmy [Gavet], Herman [Ese'ese] and Sione [Mata'utia] were talking about it before the game.
"We just said we've all been playing good over the past few weeks when Klem's been there, we just need to step it up an extra gear. We felt like we didn't have to do anything extraordinary, we just thought 'step it up'.
"He obviously makes 200 metres a game and is good in defence. It's not just one person, not just me by myself to pick up the slack. Jimmy told me he's got my back, I told him I had his. I thought we did well without him but at the same time, Klem's our forward leader and I can't wait for him to come back."
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That could be sooner than expected. Klemmer's initial prognosis was four to six weeks out but Knights coach Nathan Brown said there is still a possibility he could be back in time to play Origin lll on July 10. Saifiti would not be surprised.
"Big Klem's tough and I wouldn't be surprised if he gets back sooner but in the mean time, I'll do whatever it takes," he said.
A measure of Klemmer's toughness is the belief he may have played close to 50 minutes of Origin l with his wrist fractured.
It's understood he felt something amiss after just his second hit-up of the game but continued to hurl himself at the Maroons until replaced early in the second half. No-one in the Blues camp were aware he suffered the injury.