ACT Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has warned his side about the dangers of trial-form seduction as he mulls selection headaches for round one.
The Brumbies beat the Melbourne Rebels by 31 points in their only pre-season match before the Super Rugby campaign begins on Friday.
The result gave the Brumbies more complications than answers given almost everyone chasing selection threw their hand up with gusto.
Noah Lolesio looms as the flyhalf choice given he barely put a foot wrong, while Darcy Swain and Murray Douglas are the front-runners for the two vacant lock spots.
The biggest challenge, however, will be making sure the Brumbies start the regular season with the same ruthlessness.
McKellar pointed to trial results against the Rebels in the past as a reminder for his players to not get carried away.
The Brumbies have beaten the Rebels in trial matches in each of the past three years. They haven't beaten the Rebels in the regular season since 2017, including losing the past four in a row.
"We haven't gone on with it against the Rebels in trials [in the past three years] in other games," McKellar said.
"It all helps. But the toughest part about being a coach is when you've got a group of boys who work really hard and deserve to be playing, but you can only pick 23 and guys miss out.
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"They're the hard conversations. It's easy if someone is lazy or isn't performing well ... you feel for the boys. But they've got to understand we're a squad and their opportunity will come."
Getting a spot on the wing is perhaps the most contentious in the squad. Andy Muirhead scored two tries against the Rebels, while Solomone Kata had a strong start to his rugby career.
The former New Zealand Warriors centre was a handful every time he touched the ball, which is exactly why the Brumbies recruited him.
"He's got a whole lot of positives to his game - his ball carry, he's dynamic, his wide breakdown work is damaging," McKellar said of Kata.
"Is he the finished product yet? Of course not. But is he ready to play Super Rugby? Yeah."
SUPER RUGBY ROUND ONE
Friday: ACT Brumbies v Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium, 7.15pm