Rising lock Darcy Swain has lit the fuse for a trans-Tasman showdown as the ACT Brumbies brace for their first test against a New Zealand-based Super Rugby rival.
The Brumbies are the only Australian team to have won throughout the opening fortnight and Swain is adamant they can avoid the infamous New Zealand hoodoo this week.
Swain has declared he is ready to return from a shoulder injury against the Otago Highlanders at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.
But the final decision rests in the hands of the Brumbies' medical staff who have plenty on their plate with Scott Sio and Tom Cusack being monitored following head knocks.
Their returns would be a huge boost for the Brumbies given the recent struggles of Australian franchises against their counterparts from across the ditch.
"There is that little bit of a monkey on the shoulder," Swain said.
"We got it off last year when we beat a New Zealand team and everyone was talking about how we got the monkey off the shoulder.
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"When we play our best footy, we're just as good as them, if not better. We just need to back ourselves. If we do everything right out there on Saturday night, we're good enough to get the job done.
"We'll put our heads down and work hard, tick the boxes we need to, but in terms of just playing free-flowing footy, that's what we're doing at the moment. "
Swain was forced to watch the Brumbies topple the Melbourne Rebels from the sideline last week with Cadeyrn Neville filtering into the starting side.
But the 22-year-old is confident he will be fit to play this week after showing signs of improved strength and range of motion at club headquarters on Monday morning.
Swain was already seeking out Brumbies coach Dan McKellar in a bid to get the nod this week against a Highlanders outfit looking to bounce back from a last-start loss.
"He knows that all the time, all the boys are keen to play. I'll go and chat to him again and say I'm ready to play, but it's a decision the medical staff have to make," Swain said.
"If they feel comfortable with me playing, I'll be out there and I'll just do my job. My shoulder is feeling a lot better and my finger is feeling a lot better.
"It's just a matter of ticking the boxes now and seeing how it progresses. I'm really looking forward to stepping out onto the training paddock again and giving the boys a run.
"It always is [tough] watching from the sideline, obviously I'd like to be out there. The boys are really making home a fortress, 10 wins [in a row] at home now so it's something we can really build on."
The Brumbies are chasing the longest home winning streak in the club's history which stands at 13 set from 1996-98.
Scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan says three home wins to start the season would be a "massive" boost.
"That's leading into a couple of away games and then into a bye week, so it would be a great start for us," Lonergan said.
"There's just something about it when we play here, and that has obviously shown in the past 10 games we have had here.
"To be able to test ourselves against a Kiwi team like the Highlanders will be really good."
SUPER RUGBY ROUND THREE
Saturday: ACT Brumbies v Otago Highlanders at Canberra Stadium, 7.15pm.
SUPER W ROUND ONE
Saturday: ACT Brumbies v Western Australia at Canberra Stadium, 4.35pm.