'It's a good lead-in. We fully respect South Africa. We've played them a few times in a couple of tournaments this year (in Belgium and Australia) and they're improving,' said Ettridge, whose side are the defending champions following their success in Beijing four years ago.
'Their coach does a great job with them. The teams get along well. We're all here fighting for the same thing so anything can happen - we hope we get it right.
'But it's a bit different to 2008 when we played Brazil first and we didn't know what to expect because we hadn't see them for a few years.'
Captain Brad Ness has insisted his side are in good shape ahead of the competition, saying: 'Our preparation has been great, better than I can remember it. We are feeling very confident.'
However, he is well aware of the task facing Australia with a number of teams expected to feature strongly in the latter stages.
'It's one of the most open I have been involved in and I am now into my fourth Paralympics,' he added.