Albert Anae got a taste of the Wallabies' 'drug' three years ago, and he's not horsing around when he says he wants to use his first ACT Brumbies season to help launch him back into Australian gold.
But the former Queensland Red and fringe Wallabies prop admits he faces stiff competition just to earn a spot in the Brumbies' game-day squad as he jostles with Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa for loosehead duties.
Anae and a group of Brumbies were flogged in a gruelling fitness session on Friday with the rest of the squad in Brisbane for a pre-season trial against the Reds.
The 117-kilogram front-rower returned to Australia this year for another crack at Super Rugby and a chance to chase his Wallabies ambitions.
Former Test coach Ewen McKenzie called Anae into the Wallabies squad in 2013 as a versatile prop who can also play hooker.
It was a brief taste of life at the top, and Anae is driven by a desire to get back.
"It's a good drug, when you want that little taste of the Wallabies you want more of it," Anae said.
"That's why I came back [to Australia], and I never thought I'd get a chance at the Brumbies. I'm still buzzing that I'm here.
"There are little things I have to work at and sitting behind players like Allan and Scotty isn't a bad thing. I'm working behind the scenes and I'll be doing everything I can to push for the gold jersey.
"A wise man once said to me you can't play in Australia without the goal of playing for the Wallabies. I sat behind [Stephen Moore] in a Wallabies meeting in 2013, I looked at the emblem on the jersey and that's what I want."
Channel 10 has locked in its free-to-air broadcast schedule for the first eight rounds of the Super Rugby season, with the Brumbies to have four of their first seven games shown on ONE HD.
The NSW Waratahs will get four games, including two blockbuster derbies against the Brumbies on March 6 and April 17.
Anae looms as a vital weapon in Brumbies' depth this year as the club aims to break a 12-year title drought.
Sio eased his way back from elbow and knee injuries in the trial against the Reds and Anae is ready to inject himself after two seasons for Treviso in Italy.
Brumbies fans will get a chance to pick Anae's brain at the club's 'meet the players day' at its University of Canberra headquarters on Saturday.
The squad will return to the capital early after its clash against the Reds to try to drum up support leading into their round-one match against the Wellington Hurricanes on February 26.
Scrumhalf Joe Powell is still trying to settle into his new life as a Brumbies' full-time member, battling Tomas Cubelli and Michael Dowsett for the No. 9 jersey.
Less than a year ago Powell was plucked from the job site while working as a carpenter's apprentice to make his Super Rugby debut in the place of Nic White.
He impressed so much that he was rewarded with an extended player contract in a dream come true for the 21-year-old who has been a paying Brumbies member since he was four.
His teammates joke that Powell wouldn't look out of place lining up with schoolkids to shake hands with their heroes on Saturday.
Almost 20 years after chasing Stephen Larkham and George Gregan's signatures, Powell is the one giving out signatures.
"I remember when I was a young kid going to a Brumbies v Raiders cricket game when [Stephen] Larkham and [George] Gregan were playing," Powell said.
"I got a few autographs that day, I've still got the jersey. It's a bit weird, all the superstars that I looked up to are now coaching me.
"I've got to be a bit more consistent and get that Super Rugby knowledge. I just want to be in the match-day 23 squad this year and play the best I can."
BRUMBIES MEET THE PLAYERS DAY
Saturday: The entire Brumbies squad will be at the University of Canberra from 1-4pm to meet fans ahead of their round-one match on February 26.
SUPER RUGBY FREE-TO-AIR BROADCAST SCHEDULE
February 28: NSW Waratahs v Queensland Reds
March 6: ACT Brumbies v NSW Waratahs
March 13: Western Force v ACT Brumbies
March 20: NSW Waratahs v Otago Highlanders
March 27: Melbourne Rebels v Otago Highlanders
April 3: ACT Brumbies v Waikato Chiefs
April 10: Queensland Reds v Otago Highlanders
April 17: NSW Waratahs v ACT Brumbies
* All games shown at 8am on Sundays