ACT Brumbies winger Andy Muirhead is relishing the opportunity to assert himself in Dan McKellar's starting XV, as the battle to lock down the No.14 jersey kicks into gear.
The Brumbies started a pre-season training camp at the University of Newcastle on Monday, escaping the hazardous bushfire smoke that continues to linger over the capital city.
Muirhead is preparing for his fourth season with Canberra and is cited to fill the boots of a departed Super Rugby star.
Henry Speight's defection to the Queensland Reds has opened the door for Muirhead to stake his claim on the No.14 jersey.
The fleet-footed flyer played 11 Super Rugby matches last year, including two standout performances as Speight's injury replacement at the business end of the season.
He's since been added to a leadership group with Tom Banks, Tom Cusack, Irae Simone, Pete Samu and Joe Powell, but coach Dan McKellar is yet to settle on a captain.
MORE CANBERRA SPORT
The 26-year-old winger has vowed to step up this season and help lead the Brumbies squad through a changing of the guard.
"Something I really want to do this season is to step into the team, assert myself and lock down a position," Muirhead said.
"We've got a younger squad, so I'm just trying to help those guys out and be the older figure with them as well."
Muirhead will jostle with the likes of Toni Pulu and Tom Wright for a position in the Brumbies starting XV, while Mack Hansen and former rugby league player Solomone Kata are potential finishers.
The Brumbies will throw all their firepower into their only trial match against the Melbourne Rebels on January 23, meaning most players will have a chance to prove themselves ahead of round one.
"If you look at our roster, we've got the likes of Wright, Pulu and a few other guys who have put their hands up for those wing spots as well," Muirhead said.
"It's always nice to have a healthy competition in our outside backs. It's always been quite strong at the Brumbies to be fair."
Brumbies coaches have been training former Melbourne Storm player Kata at both wing and centre, but are yet to decide where he sits on the roster.
"He's a big boy and he's definitely impressed," Muirhead said.
"He's got great skills for a big boy and he also carries very strong.
"He's fit into the group quite well to be fair, he's a really great bloke so it's always nice to have one of those around.
"He's been playing in the centres and also on the wing. I think they're still deciding what's best for him and where he fits into the team as well. It'll be good come the season, he can sort of just lock down a position."