Corey Thompson's seven-year wait for a return to the NRL finals almost never happened but the experienced Titans winger has every reason to believe his team can make an impact from eighth place this season.
Thompson was a 25-year-old late bloomer in the NRL when he was part of Canterbury's extraordinary run from seventh spot to the Telstra Premiership grand final in 2014.
The Bulldogs upset the Storm, Sea Eagles and Panthers on their way to reaching the decider after scraping their way into the finals during the regular season.
They eventually ran into a brick wall South Sydney outfit who broke their premiership drought but Thompson's experience has him well-placed in preparation for his second career finals experience.
"We had to go down to Melbourne in week one and I remember we trained well, probably the best we had all year, and ended up flogging them," Thompson told NRL.com.
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"I know a lot of people are saying it's only the top four this season but that year it was very close and once you're in the finals it becomes so different.
"Manly came second and we beat them the next week and then played Penrith who were also in the top four.
"There's no reason why we can't go deep into the finals at the Titans. I definitely believe there are some similarities there and belief can go a long way in this game.
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"In the regular rounds good teams can beat you once or twice but in the finals you only need to show up and have a great night and you move on to the next round.
"If we believe in ourselves and play that tough, gritty style then hopefully we can replicate that."
Thompson missed the only match between the two sides earlier this year – an entertaining 35-34 contest – due to an ankle injury.
However, he is relishing the chance to come up against Roosters winger Daniel Tupou on Saturday for the eighth time in his career.
Tupou's height advantage and aerial prowess is a clear weapon used by the Tricolours but Thompson said he was experienced enough to handle his opposite number.
"I've done it so many times, he's actually a quality bloke and we often have a bit of a laugh on the field," Thompson said.
"His yardage carries are up there with the best in the game so we need three men in on him to win that part of the game."
Thompson added the match-up between Titans whiz kid Jayden Campbell and Roosters captain James Tedesco was worth the price of admission alone with the pair lighting up the competition in recent weeks.
"JC [Campbell] is still learning so I keep talking to him and try to get him pumped up when he's tired," Thompson said.
"But he's an absolute freak, everything he does is natural. I can't wait to see him in a few years once he learns all the one percent plays like Teddy or Tom Trbojevic.
"Teddy has been doing it for years and added so many elements to his game. If we can minimise his involvement and impact it will go a long way."