Bulldogs halfback Lachlan Lewis gives away eight years and over 20 kilograms to South Sydney forward Sam Burgess but he held his own on Good Friday.
Certainly the Rabbitohs snuck away with the win at ANZ Stadium 14-6 but Lewis earned kudos big-time with his best 'David versus Goliath' impersonation.
"He's a big fella and he's looking good; he's looking in shape," said 90kg Lewis of 116kg Burgess.
"He absolutely rocked me that first run he did off the tap – rocked me big-time. That woke me up.
"We did a bit during the week on being on his edge and that he'd be running at me all day. I knew it was coming so whenever I saw him get the ball I rushed up."
Burgess, a wily and experienced campaigner, was not only physical but gave some verbal niggle as well.
Match Highlights: Bulldogs v Rabbitohs
"That kind of fired me up bit even though I laughed it off. He gave me a bit of a niggle when they thought they'd scored that try with the obstruction," Lewis said.
A Corey Allan try in the 40th minute off an Adam Reynolds kick was over-ruled by the bunker, when Rabbitohs interchange forward Liam Knight obstructed Lewis.
Burgess let the young Bulldogs No.7 know his thoughts.
"He said, 'You know you're going to get found out sooner or later'. Their game plan was to run a bit of shape down my side and it nearly worked for them – but they still won the game.
"I just let my actions talk. He got the win so I guess that's one-nil to Sam."
The 22-year-old half made 26 tackles and five or six of those were tangled up with Burgess.
There was a push-and-shove in the 37th minute that led to assistant referee Tim Roby pulling Lewis and Burgess apart before ordering play to continue.
Sam absolutely rocked me that first run he did off the tap – rocked me big-time. That woke me upLachlan Lewis
"That started a little something… but I love that in footy. I love the challenge."
The original spark for the running battle seems to have originated early in the match.
"I think it was that first tackle where he made that half-break and I kind of spun him around and he dropped it," Lewis said.
"That upset him a bit. But all back-rowers run tough and try and terrorise the halves. You get used to it – I'm certainly getting used to it."
Lewis said he just had to hold his nerve – and his ground – when it came to Burgess.
"When I see him getting the ball and I can see what play they're running, I've got my team-mates inside and outside of me taking their man. So my focus is solely on the back-rower," he said.
"A couple of times I just came out and gave it all I could at him.
"It was probably like a fly hitting a car – didn't look like it affected him at all. He's tough."
While that face-off was highly entertaining, the Bulldogs did end up with the unwanted feeling of losing a fifth game in six rounds.
"Dean [Pay] was happy with how hard we played and scrambled and held them to a low amount of points," Lewis said, as his team prepares to face the Cowboys next weekend back at ANZ Stadium.
Ogden crashes over
"We were talking about how we want to have [Souths game] as our baseline. Don't make it our ceiling, make it our baseline and try to improve off it.
"We were a bit immature in patches when we got close to their line but blew our chances.
"We know we can match it with the best. We just need to find the best in ourselves. And turn some opportunities into points."