Most coaches keep a few tricks up their sleeve, especially when it comes to the most intense rivalry in ACT Brumbies history.
Dan McKellar went searching for something different this week. That's why there was roaring laughter coming from inside the Brumbies team room.
But instead of showing 23 years of Brumbies-Waratahs highlights, fights and tense wins, McKellar pulled something else out of his hat: a magician.
So with a guaranteed finals spot on the line and all the fire and brimstone of facing off against their nemesis, the Brumbies were left baffled as Michael Webb took control of the players.
The trick plays the Brumbies plan to roll out against the Waratahs will be child's play compared to the way Webb ran rings around the players and fooled the coaches.
"I'm not into magic, David Copperfield doesn't do it for me. But Michael's a Marist boy and he did some tricks on me [last year] and I thought, 'I've got to get this guy in front of the players'," McKellar said.
"It's important we have laughs along the way and do something differently. The boys loved it ... he did a trick on me and I've got absolutely no idea, but he nailed it.
"He was here for three hours after he finished. There was ruckus coming from the physio area and he was doing more tricks. He got here at 8.30am and left at 2.30pm."
The Brumbies will be playing to secure their return to the Super Rugby finals when they battle the Waratahs. They are also aiming for their fifth consecutive win, which would be the club's longest winning streak since 2007.
It's a serious time of year with one false step or error having massive ramifications of team's hopes of winning championships.
But the Brumbies want to keep the mood light, building on a theory that started when Stephen Larkham was coaching.
The theory was that players perform better when they are happy. How did Larkham make them happy? Splitting the players into groups and giving them video tasks to perform each week, which were played before the team's final training session.
"You can play the game well before Saturday evening [in your head], that's something I'm conscious off," McKellar said.
"You've got to have smiles and laughing, enjoying what we're doing and making sure we take those opportunities.
"I think we've done that pretty well this year. Because it can be intense and very serious. So you've got to make sure the guys are still enjoying what they do."
The Brumbies have been all smiles for the past two months, losing just one of their past seven games to be five points clear at the top of the Australian conference.
They are on the cusp of getting back to the play-offs with just two rounds left in the regular season, starting with a showdown in Sydney.
The challenge is making sure the Brumbies maintain the same intensity for the coming weeks.
McKellar has worked to create a winning culture off the field as well, adding sports psychologist Jeff Bond to his staff this year and inviting parents, partners and extended family into the change rooms before and after games.
"Another win over the 'Tahs would be nice," McKellar said.
"We don't think too much about stats [or streaks], it just says more about where the group has come from over the past 12 or 18 months. We're talking positively about little milestones. It's good to know and you take it on board, but it doesn't mean a lot on Saturday night.
"The group is in a good place, the club is in a good place so we just need to keep on going."
Meanwhile, prop Tom Ross has signed a two-year contract extension after making his Super Rugby debut this season, but Jordan Jackson-Hope is set to leave the capital.
SUPER RUGBY ROUND 17
Saturday: NSW Waratahs v ACT Brumbies at Parramatta, 7.45pm.
Brumbies: 1. James Slipper, 2. Folau Faingaa, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 4. Rory Arnold, 5. Sam Carter, 6. Rob Valetini, 7. Tom Cusack, 8. Pete Samu, 9. Joe Powell, 10. Christian Lealiifano, 11. Toni Pulu, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Andy Muirhead, 15. Tom Banks. Reserves: 16. Connal McInerney, 17. Scott Sio, 18. Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19. Darcy Swain, 20. Jahrome Brown, 21. Lachlan McCaffrey, 22. Matt Lucas, 23. Tom Wright.
Waratahs: 1. Tom Robertson, 2. Damien Fitzpatrick, 3. Sekope Kepu, 4. Tom Staniforth, 5. Rob Simmons, 6. Lachlan Swinton, 7. Michael Hooper, 8. Michael Wells, 9. Nick Phipps, 10. Bernard Foley, 11. Curtis Rona, 12. Lalakai Foketi, 13. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14. Alex Newsome, 15. Kurtley Beale. Reserve: 16. Andrew Tuala/Tolu Latu, 17. Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18. Chris Talakai, 19. Jed Holloway, 20. Will Miller, 21. Jake Gordon, 22. Tautalatasi Tasi, 23. Cam Clark.
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