It is shaping up as a heavyweight battle of two of the NRL's biggest forward packs that will go a long way to deciding the outcome of Sunday's clash between the Knights and Manly at Brookvale.
But while conceding the Sea Eagles boast a "great" pack, Knights skipper Mitchell Pearce has enormous faith in his own engine room to get the job done, declaring: "I wouldn't change our boys for the world."
With both sides coming off unexpected big defeats last weekend, it has set the stage for a clash of wills with the more desperate of the two to come out on top.
"It's a challenge every week," Pearce said when asked about the impending battle up front.
"Every team you come up against, if you are not preparing the best you can and nailing your preparation and routines, any team on their day can beat anyone. It's been proven.
"Manly have got a great pack but I'm playing behind a pretty handy pack here myself. It's going to be a real contest."
Veteran Knights forward Aidan Guerra predicted the opening exchanges won't be a place for the faint-hearted.
"I would assume that the first 10 or 15 minutes of the game is going to be pretty brutal and then I think who can continue it the longest is going to win this weekend," he said.
"It's a game where both sides have shown a little bit of their potential this year. I guess both sides will want to play up to that this weekend. We'll work as hard as we can to make sure we're the side that comes out on top."
Guerra was just as complimentary as Pearce about Manly's forwards, who boast three international props in Addin Fonua-Blake, Marty Taupau and Jake Trbojevic.
"You look at their big three in the forwards, it's a pretty formidable pack there and I'm thinking our boys are thinking the same thing," he said. "These guys will show up to play and we have to match it. If we do show up as well, then it's going to be a hell of a football game."
Pearce admitted his side didn't turn up steeled to play in Townsville last weekend against the Cowboys and wasn't afraid to point the finger at himself.
"I was disappointed with my game on the weekend," he said. "I didn't play well in the first half. I didn't kick well and as a team, we didn't kick well so we'll work on that for this week.
"Have I been playing well this year? I feel like I've played some solid footy and I feel like I've got plenty of good footy ahead of me for the rest of the year.
"The big focus for us as a team is our defence and as poor as we were with the ball [against the Cowboys], I thought defensively, we weren't great either and we've got to turn that around again this week."
Pearce said he is looking forward to his personal duel with Manly's Test halfback Daly Cherry-Evans.
"I always enjoy coming up against Chez because he is such a quality player," he said.
"He's the Australian halfback and he's having another good season but if I can play my best footy, it will go a long way towards us getting over Chez and his mob.
"We watched a bit of Manly in preparation. They are a real quality side but we're focused on getting our game on for this week and I'm sure Manly will be doing the same."
Pearce said his side is a work in progress.
"We know where we want to go and what team we want to look like and we are working hard at that," he said.
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN THE NEWS: