It was a baptism of fire when Alex Small and Will Sankey pulled on their Canberra Vikings training kit for the first time last week.
Small had been enjoying his off-season while Sankey played with the ACT Griffins when they answered Nick Scrivener's call for a late National Rugby Championship berth.
The duo will step straight onto the bench when Canberra host Fijian Drua in a semi-final clash at Viking Park on Sunday.
The Vikings have been hit with a multitude of injuries heading into the finals, with Darcy Swain, Levi Shaw, Connal McInerney ruled out for the grand final qualifier.
Small, who plays with the Gungahlin Eagles in the John I Dent Cup, covers Lachlan Lonergan at hooker with TP Luteru unavailable for the semi-final clash.
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"It was a baptism of fire to get up to speed with all their systems and calls," Small said.
"We've had a really good couple of weeks of training and hopefully I can contribute a lot on Sunday.
"Fiji have some big hitters but should I have the opportunity to come off the bench, hopefully they're all tired by the time I get out there. I'll use my nimble frame to get in around them."
Second-rower Sankey could also make his NRC debut from the bench after he was drafted into the squad to replace Swain last week.
The Uni-Norths Owls lock has gone from playing representative footy with the Griffins to training alongside capped Wallabies players within a matter of weeks.
Sankey admitted he was shocked when he received the call up but has taken the opportunity with both hands.
"I'm trying to soak up as much as I can - I've been a sponge at training and learning off those guys," Sankey said.
"It's high level coaching and training and I'll take it into the next season.
"I definitely [want to make my debut], a few minutes would be good but regardless, I'm happy to get be a part of the team anyway."
The winner of the Vikings clash with Fijian Drua will meet the Western Force in a grand final in Perth next week.
The Vikings are eyeing their maiden NRC title after two appearances in the championship decider.
"Everyone is right up for it and it means a lot to those boys to get the win here and qualify for the grand final," Small said.
"They've been working hard for the last couple of months. It's a really good vibe and there's a lot of energy.
"It's special [for me] to get an opportunity to play at the next level."
NRC SEMI-FINAL: Canberra Vikings v Fijian Drua at Viking Park on Sunday, 3pm.
Vikings: 1. Bo Abra 2. Lachlan Lonergan 3. Angus Wagner 4. Nick Frost 5. Blake Enever 6. Pete Samu 7. Will Miller 8. Rob Valetini 9. Ryan Lonergan 10. Noah Lolesio 11. Tom Wright 12. Irae Simone 13. Len Ikitau 14. Toni Pulu 15. Tom Banks. Reserves: 16. Alex Small 17. Fred Kaihea 18. Tom Ross 19. Will Sankey 20. Angus Allen 21. Joe Powell 22. Bayley Kuenzle 23. Mack Hansen