Vikings coach Sean Barrett is looking forward to seeing how his team responds to a fresh challenge when they face University on Saturday.
The two sides have been among the elite teams in Illawarra Rugby Union over the past few years, with Vikings eliminating Uni from the finals in 2017 and Uni returning the favour in 2018.
The Bulls have started the season as they left off last year, dropping just the one match to defending premiers Bowral and look to be a premiership threat yet again.
Vikings, on the other hand, have struggled for consistency throughout the first five rounds of the year, with Barrett acknowledging his men have been below their best in recent weeks.
They did, however, return to form with a 44-7 victory over Shoalhaven last weekend and Barrett is confident that win will provide the team with momentum heading into Saturday's match.
"We needed the win last week," Barrett said. "We had dropped below where our standards have been the last couple of years. We got Shoalhaven at a good time, with a few of their players out, but it was good we were quite clinical at times.
"Uni this week gives us a good litmus test on what has and hasn't been working. It will show if we are on par and playing to our standards. Uni are a benchmark side, we've already played Camden who are pushing for top four, and then we have Avondale and Bowral in the next few weeks."
Despite their impressive start to the year, Uni are cautious of the threat Vikings will pose at Vikings Oval.
The Bulls pulled off a miraculous escape last weekend when they overcame a 22-10 half-time deficit to defeat Camden 24-22. University coach Shaun McCreedy knows such a performance will not be enough to beat Vikings this week.
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"Vikings are a team that if they get their tails up, are hard to beat," McCreedy said.
"We've discussed our starts, the last couple of weeks we've been flat the first 40 minutes. We definitely don't want to be down at half-time against Vikings. We need to be better for longer periods of time this week."
While Vikings and Uni may have different playing styles, the two coaches agree over what their side needs to do to get the victory, win the battle up front.
For Barrett, that means players like Brandon Mooi and Cody Roman must be at their best on Saturday.
"The forward clash, as it always does in rugby, will set the scene of who gets the ascendancy," Barrett said. "If we can be on the front foot with our forwards, we'll gain the upper hand.
"We need to set the tone there. We know Uni have threats across the board, they have an astute rugby brain in Donny Nepia and they'll have a game plan they trust and believe in. We've got to trust our defence, shape and structure."
In other matches this weekend, Avondale will play host to Bowral in a 2018 grand final rematch, Kiama will host Shoalhaven, while Tech will take on Camden.
Finally, Shamrocks will make the trip north to play Campbelltown.
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