Canterbury coach Dean Pay believes his scrutinised halves Kieran Foran and Lachlan Lewis are primed to hit it off when they play their first NRL game together against the Warriors.
Foran unearthing his best form will be critical if the Bulldogs are to improve on last year's 12th placing, with the Warriors promising they'll pay plenty of attention to their former five-eighth in Auckland on Saturday.
The 28-year-old Kiwis international returns to Mt Smart Stadium for the first time since a difficult 2017 season when he couldn't shake off questions about his mental health and playing future following a string of personal off-field problems.
Trumpeted as a headline three-season signing by the Bulldogs last year, Foran struggled for form through 12 rounds before undergoing season-ending surgery on toe ligaments.
Pay was encouraged by Foran's off-season work and doesn't think he'll be hindered mentally or physically against his former teammates.
"Not really, I think Kieran's in a good place at the moment," Pay said.
"He's trained really well in the off-season and he's like the rest of the boys who are itching to get out there. We're all excited for him to get back out on the field and play the way that we know he can."
Lewis was a standout rookie halfback for the last nine games last year when the Bulldogs produced their best form of a disappointing campaign.
Pay said while the 22-year-old had shown glimpses of his talent, he needed to stay grounded heading into his first full season.
"Lachie's a young player who is only eight-10 games into his career so he's got a long way to go," Pay said.
"He's got a lot of potential but we're just working to make sure he puts a performance out there that he's really proud of."
Lewis's most prominent performance came against the Warriors in Sydney when he scored a try and landed a freakish, match-winning field goal.
It had Warriors skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck on edge.
"Lewis, he came out last year and he killed it. And you've got Foz (Foran) on one side who, if he plays well, is going to be hard for us to stop," he said.
"So it's about getting players around him and pressure around him."