Jason Nightingale has warned his Dragons teammates not to expect a World Club Challenge hangover from Melbourne, suggesting the Storm's resolve will only be strengthened by a successful round-the-world odyssey.
Only back in Australia a little more than a week after conquering English Super League champions Leeds, Melbourne's title defence will begin against a re-modelled Dragons on Sunday.
New Zealand international Nightingale downplayed suggestions the frequent-flying Storm will be travel weary, claiming the premiers were capable of launching their title defence in similar style to the Dragons in 2011.
Wayne Bennett's Dragons won 10 of their first 11 matches, after returning from the Old Dart as the world's best club side.
"They've been on a trip overseas, but we did that and came back and won our first five so I think they'll get a lot of confidence out of that if anything," Nightingale told the Mercury.
"The fact they've been to England and back, it's probably just made them a little bit more match-hardened than if they hadn't.
"I think it's a good time to catch anyone - [but] everyone's in the same boat pretty much."
Set to link up on the end of a re-modelled right hand-side attack, the 26-year-old Nightingale said he was expecting the Dragons to employ a similar attacking blueprint to the one so successful against Melbourne last year.
Fighting to keep their season alive, St George Illawarra inflicted Melbourne with their fifth straight loss in late July last year.
It is the longest losing streak the Storm have endured under Bellamy's 10-year watch.
Melbourne never looked back after that and marched relentlessly to the title, but Nightingale hinted the Dragons hadn't completely forgotten how to puncture the Storm's suffocating defence.
"They were really down at the time I think . . . as were we," Nightingale said. "We were just needing some sort of win to keep our season alive."