Newly re-signed Melbourne Rebel Colby Fainga’a has had a one-track mind this preseason.
With months of training nearly over, the Rebels are preparing to open their season against the Force on Saturday night and Fainga'a said this match had been at the forefront of his mind over summer.
“That’s kind of what you do all preseason for, you kind of do the whole preseason to get the first round done,” he said.
“You train the whole preseason thinking: ‘Force, Force, Force,’ that’s our round one game and to get an away win as well would be awesome.
“We always know that anytime we play them it’s always tough, tight games and no matter how much you try and prepare yourself it’s always a tight fight."
And while the Force will front up with a vastly different looking attack, Fainga'a predicts it will be a clash of the forwards on Saturday.
“The forward pack is probably where we're going to have the most trouble, so it’s probably fronting up our forward pack verse their forward pack,” he said.
"They contest very hotly around the breakdown and they’ve got some world class players that do that for them.
"I think if we want to win it’s going to be the forwards’ role to front up on the weekend and get the job done.”
The two newest Aussie franchises have played out some tight battles in recent years, with results marginally in the Rebels’ favour.
Fainga’a announced a two-year contract extension with the Rebels on Tuesday, tying him to the club until the end of the 2018 season.
The 24-year-old will be competing with Jordie Reid for the open side spot, while Sean McMahon and former All Black Adam Thomson look likely to fill the blindside spots.
Fainga’a said the competition between the back rowers kept him on his toes.
“It’s tough at the moment, we've got such great talent and we could be playing so well for so long and have one lapsed game and there’s the guy sitting on your tail the whole time and he’s playing very well," he said.
“It’s about performing every week and if you’re not performing at the time the depth is there to swap you in and out depending on how you feel and stuff."