World Cup devastation, Super Rugby heartbreak and the desire to reconnect with Canberra fans is driving Scott Sio to lift the ACT Brumbies back to the glory days next year.
Sio and the Brumbies' international contingent returned to training this week earlier than usual after Wallabies duties to get a headstart before the earliest round one in Super Rugby history.
The 40-degree heat and pre-Christmas collision sessions were a shock to the system for the club's stars.
But it also gave them a chance to embrace the club's new community engagement plan, spending Wednesday afternoon at The Canberra Hospital to bring smiles to the face of sick children.
Coach Dan McKellar has built community time into the training program as the Brumbies attempt to forge a relationship with fans who have become detached from the game.
The Brumbies averaged just 8798 fans per game last year, the second-lowest per game attendance in the club's rich history.
The crowd figures cast a shadow on some good news, with the Brumbies to announce a profit for the third consecutive year on Thursday night and an increase in grassroots participation.
Sio says there are more reasons for excitement, pointing to the rising talent in the Brumbies squad and a desire to end the club's championship drought.
"Hopefully I can play a small part in this club's future success," Sio said.
"We're growing something different down here. There's a bit of change ... we've had a lot of experience move on with a lot of familiar faces going.
"But that brings new faces, and new faces for the Canberra community and Australian rugby to get excited about.
"There's new talent, new combinations to put their best foot forward. I'm excited and I hope all of our fans are.
"It's cool to meet a lot of these young guys who bring a lot of enthusiasm and creating a lot of positive energy."
The changeover on the Brumbies' roster helped significantly with the club being able to bank money and buck the trend of Australian rugby's financial woes.
McKellar will usher in a new era in Canberra, while Dave Rennie will take the Wallabies reins in a changing of the guard at Test level.
Sio has committed to the Brumbies until at least the end of 2022 and is itching to get game time next season. But he admits the pain of being knocked out of the World Cup in the quarter-finals still stings.
"It's a massive [driver]. It's an opportunity to learn from what happened, how we can be better individually and as a team," Sio said.
"The exciting thing is there's a new coach, new staff and new players for a lot of franchises as well. Hopefully we can gain a lot of new fans over the coming years."
The Brumbies will play their only trial match on January 23.