Dubbo Rhinos skipper Matt Neil says there's no hard feelings between his side and the Mudgee Wombats as they prepare for Saturday's away game.
"As far as clubs go, personally I actually like Mudgee, I've always enjoyed playing against them because both clubs tend to get on very well and we've both struggled the last couple of years, so I'm glad to see them on the come up," Neil said.
"Mudgee have really impressed me this year, especially at the start of the year, they've come a long way from last year and made a lot of improvements."
Despite the camaraderie, the Rhinos are eager to use the experience they gained early in the season during a frustrating loss to the Wombats to get themselves back in the New Holland Agriculture Cup's winning column and build momentum for a strong season finish.
"I expect them to have a really, really strong scrum that's what they've got and that's how they win games, they scrum and they maul and they set their line out, they've got a really strong pack of forwards too," Neil said.
"We'll be doing a lot of scrums and lineout work tomorrow in training and we'll packing our scrums a lot better this time."
"I know they're bringing a big fellow in their inside centre and they'll run the ball through him a lot, they'll kick to the corners and play to their forwards a lot as well and we'll have to be ready for that."
Across the competition so far the Rhinos have struggled to stay disciplined for the entire 80 minutes and found themselves in search of a win after an uninspired start to the season.
"We actually had a week off from training as well, the idea was to just have a break, get everyone a bit fresher and come back motivated and finish off the year strong - a lot stronger than we started," Neil said.
"We'll continue our focus on defence, this second half of the season, we're noticing a lot of improvements in our defence, even though the results haven't gone our way."
Offensively, the Rhinos are banking on mobility and speed to get the job done against the Wombats powerful forwards.
"We'll pick a few mobile, loose forwards, try and run them around a bit and see if we can get at them that way."
Neill will also be looking for some of the club's newer blood to turn in key performances during the match, building on mobile centre Brent Shoard's success throughout his truncated season with the Rhinos.
"Brent Shoard has been really impressive, he's joined us mid-year, he came from Young and he started as a flanker, we've ended up putting him in the centre," Neil said.
"He's probably one of the best tacklers I've ever seen play footy, he's a young fellow and he deserves a lot of credit because he's a talented footballer and he's a very good bloke."
The Dubbo Rhinos and Mudgee Wombats game will kick-off at 3.15pm on Sunday July 16 at Jubilee Oval.