If Blake Enever's head was still spinning after a whirlwind Wallabies call up, an old-school pre-season slogfest brought him back to earth with a thud on Thursday.
The Wallabies bolter made a surprise return to ACT Brumbies training almost a week earlier than expected when he joined his teammates for a brutal afternoon field session.
He made his Test debut for Australia just three weeks ago and most Wallabies are granted leave until January to rest their bodies after the spring tour of Europe.
Enever's Wallabies call up was so hasty he had already used most of his leave, so the 200 centimetre lock decided the only option was starting his quest for more Brumbies game time.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika plucked Enever out of the National Rugby Championship and threw him into Tests against England and Scotland, despite starting just three games for the Brumbies this year.
But the newly-minted Test second-rower has already turned his attention to what looms as a cut-throat lock battle in Canberra when he competes for game time with twin towers Rory and Richie Arnold and Brumbies skipper Sam Carter.
"I've had a bit of time to soak it all in and I'm just keen to get back into training," Enever said.
"It's been pretty full on and all happened so quickly. The squad we've got in Canberra is pretty strong and I don't want to take a step backwards at the Brumbies.
"I'm pretty keen to get in and do what I can to put my hand up for round one next year.
"I was stoked to get some Wallabies caps, but it obviously makes you hungry to get back there. The stepping stone is playing well for the Brumbies and then hopefully getting back there.
"The competition we've got at the Brumbies is going to make us all better ... we're going to be fighting for starting spots and it's going to be pretty intense."
Wallabies prop Scott Sio also joined the Brumbies briefly on Thursday and most of the club's Test contingent are expected to visit before they're due to return in the first week of January.
Coach Dan McKellar has appointed a five-man pre-season leadership group but will not settle on a captain until the full squad returns next year.
Carter and Christian Lealiifano are the leading options as captains given they shared the role this year, even though Lealiifano was battling leukaemia.
Carter, Kyle Godwin, Wharenui Hawera, Josh Mann-Rea and Tom Cusack have taken the leadership reins to drive standards in the training block before Christmas.
It's a big step for Hawera and Cusack after the duo made their Super Rugby debuts last year, while Carter, Godwin and Mann-Rea have all played for the Wallabies.
"A big thing for me is that I want to improve our existing leaders so that when [the existing leaders] move on, we've got guys who are ready to go," McKellar said.
"A couple of years ago we lost a lot of senior players and Christian got sick, there was a big gulf in leadership.
"I want to make sure the emerging guys and young leaders are being shown the ropes as well and that we're upskilling them away from rugby.
"I've had a bit of a think about [captains for next year], but not a lot. I'll talk to [Carter and Lealiifano] over the next couple of months.
"We'll have a leadership group, but we want an environment where everyone feels empowered to speak up if they see something that's going to make us better. It's not just about loading up five or six guys with the responsibility."