South Newcastle captain Brendon Simpson knows the Lions have a tough assignment against undefeated leaders Western Suburbs at Townson Oval this Sunday.
But he also knows the defending premiers have a tough month ahead.
As the Newcastle Rugby League draw falls, Souths meet the Rosellas twice in the space of three rounds with equal second Maitland and round two opponents Macquarie either side.
MORE NEWCASTLE RL:Versatile Dom Murphy always on the move for Butcher Boys
"We've got a very tough month ahead," Simpson told the Newcastle Herald on Friday.
"We've got Wests, Maitland and then Wests again. Followed by Macquarie who always seem to play well against us.
"It will be a real testing time for us."
Souths are level with the Pickers on four competition points, two behind frontrunners Wests (6) after the opening three rounds of the 2019 season.
However, the Rosellas (+104) have already gone 66 ahead of the Lions (+68) in for-and-against records.
Simpson admits that Souths will need to be at their best across the park to get the job done this weekend and record back-to-back wins for the first time this campaign.
"I don't think there's really one thing against Wests because they are so strong across the park," the prop said.
"They have a big forward pack, slick outside backs and crafty halves plus plenty of experience.
"We need to turn up ready to go and the big thing will be trying to out-enthuse them with lots of energy."
Simpson and teammates Jake Lawrence and Luke Higgins came through Newcastle representative commitments unscathed.
Lions second-rower Lawrence was named man-of-the-match after helping the Rebels defeat Sydney-based Ron Massey Cup 30-20 at Maitland on Saturday.
"He [Lawrence] was outstanding," Simpson said.
"I reckon Jake is one of the most underrated players in the comp. It was good to see him get a chance and then prove why."
Souths have named fullback Keiran Cubby (hamstring) to return but last week's replacement, Stephen Widders, remains in the 21-man squad after receiving three points in the player of the year count.
Elsewhere in round four, Cessnock have switched Paul Carter to five-eighth and Steve Waetford to No.1 for Saturday's meeting with Central Newcastle at St John Oval.
Maitland have dropped Ben Ireland, Elijah Rasiga and Matthew Meafua from the 20-man squad named this week for Saturday's clash against the Bulldogs at Kurri Sportsground.
Lakes and Macquarie are both unchanged as Seagulls fullback Nick Worthington and Scorpions winger Cody Robbins face off against their former clubs at Cahill Oval on Sunday.