Lachlan McCaffrey says genuine competition for selection can drive the ACT Brumbies towards their Super Rugby title ambitions and help them end a four-year Canberra finals drought this weekend.
But the same reason McCaffrey says the Brumbies can be a championship contender could force the influential back-rower into shifting to the bench for a knockout quarter-final on Saturday.
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar will name his team on Thursday night after agonising over who's in and who's out for the clash against the Durban Sharks.
The Brumbies have won just two finals in Canberra since 2005 and have made it to the second round of the play-offs in three of their past five finals appearances.
Back-row depth has been one of the Brumbies' biggest strengths this season, especially considering David Pocock hasn't played a game since March and won't play again this year.
McCaffrey, who will be playing in his first Super Rugby final a almost a decade after his debut, is competing with Pete Samu, Tom Cusack, Rob Valetini and Jahrome Brown for three starting spots.
It's likely McKellar will recall Samu and Cusack after the pair were rested last week, leaving McCaffrey, Valetini and Brown to jostle for the last spot.
Former Brumbies captain Stephen Hoiles lamented the lack of depth in Australian rugby earlier this week, citing the ease of players rising to the top as a reason for poor performances.
"But Dan has a good decision to make, even if it's tough. You look at a lot of squads at the end of the year and there are sore bodies and injuries, so you're struggling to put your best team out there," McCaffrey said.
"I think our coaches have the luxury at the moment to be able to pick a really strong team and then a really strong bench to come on and make an impact.
"Our bench has been performing well in games in that 60-80 minute period and that's due to good depth. I think we've used almost everyone in our squad this year ... that's a credit to the coaches.
"That competition is there day in and day out. I'm not the coach or selector, but I think whoever Dan picks in the back row will do a really good job and whoever comes off the bench will have an impact. Whoever he goes for, you'll have 23 player who rip in and do a job for the Brumbies."
Wingers Henry Speight (injured foot) and Toni Pulu (rested) are expected to be included in the starting XV as the Bruymbies chase their seventh consecutive win.
If they beat the Sharks it will be the longest single-season winning streak in Brumbies history and they will advance to the second round of the play-offs for the first time since 2015.
McCaffrey made his Super Rugby debut in 2010 and has played at the Brumbies, the Western Force and the NSW Waratahs. But he didn't get a chance to get a taste of professional finals action until he shifted his career overseas to England.
"We've done well to qualify first in the Aussie conference and get that home quarter-final," McCaffrey said.
"But we've got higher expectations and standards than just making a quarter-final. The start of the week has just felt like a normal week ... it's another game of rugby and we're lucky enough to be at home in front of our fans.
"The boys aren't satisfied yet. We've trained super hard since the day one of pre-season and it's been a huge effort to get here, but there's definitely no level of satisfaction of just finishing first in the Aussie conference. We've got goals and ambitions that we set at the start of the year and we've got three weeks to tick them off."
McCaffrey returned to Canberra last year after two years in England. He has cemented himself as a Brumbies leader and could be a Wallabies World Cup bolter.
SUPER RUGBY QUARTER FINAL
Saturday: ACT Brumbies v Durban Sharks at Canberra Stadium, 8.05pm. Tickets available from Ticketek