Joe Powell has stacked on three kilograms to be more physically robust and put himself back in Wallabies calculations as coronavirus complications stall his search for a new contract.
The ACT Brumbies scrumhalf starred in the Super Rugby restart last weekend, firing a reminder to Wallabies coach Dave Rennie about his Test ambitions and any potential suitors.
Powell's Brumbies contract expires at the end of the season and the looming arrival of Nic White, who could move to Canberra in the coming weeks, has cast doubt on Powell's future.
He has been linked to an opportunity in the United States, but it's understood it was never a serious option for the four-Test No. 9. It's more likely he will end up in Europe, but where he will go and when it will be finalised is at the mercy of COVID-19.
The one thing Powell can control is helping the Brumbies continue their stellar form and force his way on to Rennie's radar after being left out of a players of national interest squad.
Powell has been the unlucky Wallaby since making his international debut four years ago, regularly picked in squads but given minimal chances to prove himself.
He used the coronavirus rugby shutdown to bulk up and has spoken to Rennie about his prospects this year,. while Wallabies assistants Scott Wisemantel and Matt Taylor were in Canberra on Tuesday to cast their eyes over Brumbies players.
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"I always want to play my best footy for the Brumbies, and if [Wallabies] come off the back of that then it's awesome," Powell said.
"I've had a chat [with Rennie] about rough things to work on and I was happy with how it went [in the first game]. We spoke about a bit more of a running game, but it's something to not overplay my hand in the shape we have at the Brumbies. It's a balancing act."
Rookie Issak Fines made his debut as Powell's back up last week, Ryan Lonergan is set to return from an ankle injury next week and White could link with the Brumbies after moving back to Australia.
Asked what his contract plans were for beyond this year, Powell said: "I'd say I'm unsure. We've had some conversations [with Brumbies coach Dan McKellar], but at this stage I'm unsure where I'll be.
"It's not frustrating. It's just rugby at the moment. Everywhere there's uncertainty, and there's uncertainty with what's happening here and everywhere. There's nothing you can do about it."
Rugby Australia has suspended all player contract negotiations until it knows what the future of Super Rugby will be in 2021 and what sort of financial investment a broadcast deal will provide.
Powell is one of the most experienced scrumhalves in Australian rugby this year. Tate McDermott is considered a star on the rise at Queensland, while Western Force skipper Ian Prior is the longest-serving No. 9.
The Brumbies' form works in Powell's favour, winning five of six before the season was stopped and then restarting with a solid performance against the Melbourne Rebels last weekend.
"I enjoyed the break ... put a bit of size on and we had a good group working on skills," Powell said. "I've always wanted to be a bit heavier, but never had the opportunity. Now I'm about 83 kilograms, I felt it at times but I like the weight I'm playing at.
"There were elements of rust [for the team] in the first game, but there were good signs as well. It's just about fine-tuning ... I really like where we started."