Cronulla say it's irrelevant how many players Canberra rest this weekend, they want their first top-eight victim of 2020.
Prop Andrew Fifita admits he's desperate to get that distraction out of the way before the finals start. The Sharks sit on a 0-7 record against their fellow top eight sides this season.
They will get no better chance than against a Raiders side that has elected to rest nine of its usual starting 13 in the final round of the regular season.
"I just want to beat someone in the top eight," Fifita said.
"It's one of those things I really want, you can't go into the semi-finals not doing it. We just want to do it so that's another motivation for myself.
"I'm sick of all this outside noise that we're not good enough to be in the eight. For us, personally, it drives us."
Fifita sees silver lining playing from bench
Fifita noted there have been some hard losses among those seven, going down by two to the Eels in round 13 despite scoring one more try and by two to Melbourne in round two with just a late penalty goal splitting the deadlock.
"We've hard some hard losses when it comes to those. Storm and Souths; we lost by two points," he said.
Canberra's eye-opening decision to rest so many stars could cost them a top-four spot if the Eels lose to Wests Tigers; it all-but guarantees they will meet the Sharks twice in two weeks.
I'm sick of all this ... that we're not good enough to be in the eightSharks prop Andrew Fifita
Cronulla players did not view the decision as being disrespectful.
"I don't really buy into who's playing and who's not," Fifita said.
"Everyone who plays first grade deserves to be in first grade. I couldn't care less who they throw out.
"I think that's just my mentality, if they want to rest players they can rest players but when you rest players there's 17 ambitious players who want to play first grade and want to really make their mark on the game."
Scott Sorensen was also wary of an energetic young Raiders side.
"I had a look at the team; I'm sure Ricky [Stuart] wouldn't be giving them the jersey if he didn't think they could do the job," Sorensen said.
"I'm sure the players coming in for them want to make the team proud, want to make themselves proud and their family. I'm sure they'll turn up and be raring to go. For me, it's irrelevant whether they're resting players or not.
"I'm sure they've got structures and the way they like to play and I'm sure they're going to implement that against us this weekend.
"Yes there are different bodies in different jerseys and they haven't played much first grade but I'm sure they'll stick to the Raiders style of play and that's what we've got to do our homework on."
Hooker Blayke Brailey said a win over the side in fifth would be a confidence boost regardless of what 17 took the field.
"They're still a well-coached side, a great team, have a lot of young players coming in who haven't played many games so they're going to be full of energy," Brailey said.
"We just spoke about going into the finals with a bit of momentum. We don't want to put in a poor performance leading into the finals series. We just want to start of well, play well as a team and hopefully continue that into next week when we verse them again."