Canterbury playmaker Lachlan Lewis has revealed South Sydney enforcer Sam Burgess sledged that he would be "found out" at the height of their Good Friday running battle.
While tempers didn't boil over in the Rabbitohs' 14-6 win like they have in past Good Friday clashes, the Lewis-Burgess battle was an entertaining subplot to an otherwise dour match.
The two sides came together for a push-and-shove after Burgess took exception to an attempt by Lewis to hold onto his legs during a tackle.
Minutes later Souths winger Corey Allan was denied a try when it was ruled Lewis was obstructed and it prompted a verbal volley from Burgess.
"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, they won the game," Lewis said.
Standing on the Bulldogs' left side, Lewis said he knew he was going to be targeted by Burgess.
And to his credit, Lewis came up with a number of big hits on the Rabbitohs skipper despite giving away a 26kg advantage.
He forced a Burgess error in the first half and the incident seemed to get under the Englishman's skin.
But Lewis insisted it was Burgess who instigated the niggling, not him.
"We did a bit during the week on being on his edge and that he'd be running at me all day," Lewis said.
"I knew it was coming so whenever I saw him get the ball I rushed up.
"He tried to niggle me. That kind of fired me up bit even though I laughed it off."
Lewis said he took the challenge personally and their battle brought the best out of him.
"It does a little bit," Lewis said when asked if Burgess' sledge fired him up.
"If I see him get the ball and I can see what play they're running, my teammates inside and outside are on their men so my job is solely on the back-rower.
"There were a couple of times I just gave it all on him.
"It was probably like a fly hitting a car - it didn't look like it affected him at all."
Australian Associated Press