18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
"I don't think anyone expected Treviso to do all that well in the first season in the Celtic League but we picked up some big scalps," said Maddock.
"We beat the likes of Leinster and Munster at home and won nine out of 22 games. They've stepped it up again this season and won four on the trot before last weekend. Even though they did well last year, I don't think people would have predicted that.
"Treviso recruited well in the summer. They had a big training squad early on and a lot of Italian players came in. That's important for Italian rugby to give players exposure at this level. They had a good pre-season, have trained well and are getting the rewards now."
Maddock hopes Treviso's strong start to the season won't continue against his new team but he insists the challenge facing Saracens at this stage of the season is even tougher than if the clubs had met in September or early October.
Treviso welcomed back 12 internationals following the recent World Cup to hand an in-form outfit a huge boost ahead of Heineken Cup competition.
And having played alongside many of the big names set to feature in the opening weekend of the tournament, Maddock knows just how good the Italians really are.
"With the Italian internationals back - some of whom are really world-class players - Treviso are only going to get stronger," added Maddock, who expects Treviso to offer a threat out wide as well as up front.
"There's guys who have been around for a wee while, like Alessandro Zanni, who are world class to me. Zanni was the best player in the Six Nations a couple of years ago.
"Then there's some good youngsters coming through as well, namely Tommaso Benvenuti who's got a big future. He's strong, he's quick and the more he plays, the better he's going to get.
"You mix that in with some experienced foreigners like Brendan Williams, who has two of the best feet in the game, and it's a good blend.
"Their forward pack is very strong and they can field an all-international pack when they want to. They've got the platform to work off and, if their nines and 10s can control the game, there's no reason why they can't score points, like they have done already this season.
"Kris Burton has been running the show and, if they can give guys like Benvenuti and Williams some space, they've got the talent to cut teams apart."
Having struggled on their travels last year, Treviso have already won twice on the road this time out.
Franco Smith's men have tasted success at Firhill and Ravenhill - two of the game's toughest venues - and Maddock says those wins will see them head to England full of confidence in their ability to cause an upset.
"That was one of the big challenges last year to get that away win. No Italian side had won away from Italian sand in top competition. We came close a few times but never quite got there.
"This year they've already picked up two wins away from home. To get that off their back will build confidence."
But while Treviso will be no mugs in what is their 15th Heineken Cup campaign, Saracens have heady aspirations after securing a first domestic title back in May.
Last season's European adventure proved to be a disappointing one as five defeats resulted in an early exit but Maddock feels Sarries are better equipped to challenge for a continental crown in 2011/12.
"Saracens is a great club. They've recruited well and brought in players with experience in the positions they thought they needed to.
"We've got some great young talent coming through and they've already shown that they can front up and perform on the big stage. We've got a deep squad and performing in Europe is something we want to challenge for.
"Winning the Premiership last year has shown that they know how to win the big games so now we can look at trying to do that in Europe."