A four-month sevens sabbatical has convinced Tom Cusack he wants to become a two-time Olympian, vowing to empty the tank to chase Tokyo selection.
Australia's immediate qualifying hopes will go on the line on Saturday in a repechage tournament in Fiji, with the winner to secure a ticket to the Olympic Games.
The tournament also doubles as Cusack's chance to impress before he switches back to Super Rugby duties and joins the ACT Brumbies for pre-season training.
Crusack will attempt to juggle his Brumbies ambitions and an Olympic goal next year after signing a dual contract to play both 15-a-side and sevens.
Part of the arrangement, however, means Cusack will spend the entire Super Rugby season in Canberra instead of on the world series sevens circuit.
It gives him minimal time to impress Australian coach Tim Walsh, but the Rio Olympic all star wants to repay the sevens system and the Brumbies for giving him a chance he thought may never come.
"All I can do is put all my energy into where it works, and when it comes to selection for Tokyo I hope my name's on the list," Cusack said.
"I'm not doing this to make up the numbers, I'm doing it to try to get selection.
"When I signed both deals I said I'd give all of my attention to whichever squad I was playing for at the time. Right now it's a sevens mindset and that's the way it's been for the past four months.
"I owe a lot to [Brumbies coach Dan McKellar] for letting me keep alive this Olympic dream. So when I get back [to Canberra] there won't be any hesitation ripping in there either."
Australia, led by Queanbeyan junior Lewis Holland, beat Vanuatu and Nauru on day one of the tournament in Suva and then thrashed America Samoa 66-0 and Tonga 24-0 on the second day to top their pool.
Cusack was a sevens stalwart and was named in an all-star side at the Olympics three years ago before trading the hectic sevens world for Brumbies duties.
He has developed into a leader capable of playing anywhere in the back row and will be a valuable asset after the loss of several senior players, including David Pocock, Christian Lealiifano, Sam Carter and Henry Speight.
McKellar is set to give Cusack a leadership role when he returns for the start of pre-season training on November 18, which could pave the way for him to shoulder a bigger load when the regular season begins in January.
"I had a good chat with Tommy last week and he's really enjoyed the sevens," McKellar said.
"It's a good example of how sevens and 15s can work together so that they can benefit and we can benefit as well."
Cusack is perhaps one of the only players who will benefit from the earliest start to a season in Super Rugby history.
The Brumbies play the Queensland Reds on January 31, marking the first time the competition has started in the first month of the year.
An early start means an early finish, giving Cusack time to rejoin the sevens program for a last-minute push to win Walsh's approval before he makes the final Olympic cut.
"It helps going into Brumbies pre-season that I've been with the sevens because I've been training for four months already," Cusack said.
"Then the Brumbies can help me make an Olympic push. If I make it, it will be fantastic.
"I've basically entered into a 12-month block non-stop to do Super Rugby and the build up to the Olympics.
"Moving to Sydney and having a change of scenery helped [stay fresh] and the little alterations from day to day keeps everything new. I've got no qualms that I'll have that motivation next year and be enjoying my footy."
The hardest part about the dual role has been finding the right body shape and fitness to cater for both formats.
Cusack added eight kilograms to his workhorse frame last year to cope with the rigours and physicality of Super Rugby, but sevens values athleticism higher than power.
"I felt like when I left I was one of the slowest, and I've come back even slower," Cusack laughed.
"Everyone is specialised now, the speed, agility and skill the guys have is unbelievable."
BRUMBIES 2020 DRAW
January 31: ACT Brumbies v Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium, 7.15pm.
February 7: ACT Brumbies v Melbourne Rebels at Canberra Stadium, 7.15pm.
February 15: ACT Brumbies v Otago Highlanders at Canberra Stadium, 7.15pm.
February 22: Waikato Chiefs v ACT Brumbies at Hamilton, 5.05pm.
March 8: Japan Sunwolves v ACT Brumbies at Osaka, 3.15pm.
March 15: ACT Brumbies v NSW Waratahs at Canberra Stadium, 4.05pm.
March 21: Auckland Blues v ACT Brumbies at Eden Park, 5.35pm.
March 27: Queensland Reds v ACT Brumbies at Brisbane, 7.15pm.
April 4: ACT Brumbies v Wellington Hurricanes at Canberra Stadium, 7.15pm.
April 12: ACT Brumbies v Argentina Jaguares at Canberra Stadium, 4.05pm.
April 25: Durban Sharks v ACT Brumbies at Durban, 10.05pm.
May 3: Pretoria Bulls v ACT Brumbies at Pretoria, 1.45am.
May 9: ACT Brumbies v Cape Town Stormers at TBC, 7.15pm.
May 15: Melbourne Rebels v ACT Brumbies at Melbourne, 7.15pm.
May 23: NSW Waratahs v ACT Brumbies at Parramatta, 7.15pm.
May 29: ACT Brumbies v Japan Sunwolves at Canberra Stadium, 7.15pm.
June 6: Week one finals
June 13: Week two finals
June 20: Grand final