The ageing Leichhardt Oval change rooms will feel a world away from a Tokyo dream when Tom Cusack walks through the door on Friday night.
There will be no Olympic Games rings in sight, no podium or gold medals. Instead the ACT Brumbies flanker will be greeted by a plaque dedicated to Balmain tragic Laurie Nichols in the tunnel of a rugby league heartland, and an old Tigers logo on the back of the grandstand nestled between the words "Beware! Eye of the Tiger".
In another world Cusack would be in Tokyo with the Australian sevens rugby team right now, chasing a gold medal. But the coronavirus pandemic put an end to that dream and delayed the Games until 2021.
Even so, the 27-year-old feels like he is one of the lucky ones as he prepares to pull on the No. 7 jersey for a Super Rugby AU clash against the Melbourne Rebels.
"It's a hard one. We should be over in Tokyo potentially. It's hard to listen to the current playing group at the sevens, and the times they're going through," Cusack said.
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"They actually see no end in sight, whereas we are actually playing games and we actually have a broadcasting deal.
"It's really hard for them, especially the men, who have limited funding and the program is actually really struggling, which is hard to look at from the outside.
"Obviously I would love to be over in Japan, but it's a time that has struck everyone by surprise, and being able to struggle out of it and put your best foot forward is what's important."
Cusack had been juggling his Olympic ambitions with a Super Rugby tilt before the Games were postponed until July 23 next year in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The prospect of balancing both formats is enticing yet there are so few guarantees with no certainty on what Australia's professional rugby landscape will look like in 2021.
"We'll see how it comes. Whether the Olympics is going ahead next year, who knows? At this stage it doesn't seem like much is going to happen anytime soon, it's pretty dire at the moment," Cusack said.
"I would love to be able to do the juggling act, it just depends on how the Super Rugby looks next year and also how willing the Brumbies are to allow me to actually do both."
For now Cusack's sights are set on establishing the Brumbies as Australia's premier rugby franchise as they hunt for a 10th consecutive interstate derby win.
The Brumbies hold a seven-point advantage at the top of the table with the Queensland Reds and Melbourne in the box seat to secure a place in the semi-final.
But an apparent stranglehold on the competition is far from the reason why Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has made changes to his squad this week, backing in a rotation policy which has so far proven to be a masterstroke.
Cusack comes into the starting side with Will Miller dropping back to the bench, while Andy Muirhead will start on the wing at the expense of in-form flyer Tom Wright, who is resting minor ankle and rib issues.
"It's a pretty tough competition. The single day travel and play, that's taxing on the body, getting back in at 3am and to then have a sleep and then rip in the next day, it's pretty challenging," Cusack said.
"The bodies are screaming for a bit of a break, as probably all of the franchises are. It's a tumultuous 12 weeks in the competition.
"Man management is critically important, Dan has got his work cut out for him in that regard. Without a doubt, we've got confidence in the whole playing group. We're a pretty solid unit.
"Down here we're happy to see our teammates flourish, even if we're opposing players. I love seeing Willy Miller absolutely smash a game, I loved watching [David Pocock] play well.
"In those competitions amongst playing groups and amongst spots and positions, there's not actually anyone begrudgingly willing to play poorly. We want the result as a cohesive unit."
SUPER RUGBY AU ROUND SIX
Friday: Melbourne Rebels v ACT Brumbies at Leichhardt Oval, 7.05pm.
Brumbies: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Folau Fainga'a, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Nick Frost, 6. Rob Valetini, 7. Tom Cusack, 8. Pete Samu, 9. Joe Powell, 10. Bayley Kuenzle, 11. Andy Muirhead, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Solomone Kata, 15. Tom Banks. Replacements: 16. Connal McInerney, 17. Harry Lloyd, 18. Tom Ross, 19. Will Miller, 20. Ben Hyne, 21. Ryan Lonergan, 22. Mack Hansen, 23. Len Ikitau.
Rebels: 1. Cameron Orr, 2. Jordan Uelese, 3. Jermaine Ainsley, 4. Matt Philip, 5. Trevor Hosea, 6. Josh Kemeny, 7. Brad Wilkin, 8. Isi Naisarani, 9. Frank Lomani, 10. Andrew Deegan, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Matt To'omua, 13. Campbell Magnay, 14. Andrew Kellaway, 15. Reece Hodge. Replacements: 16. Efi Ma'afu, 17. Cabous Eloff, 18. Pone Fa'amausili, 19. Michael Stolberg, 20. Richard Hardwick, 21. Rob Leota, 22. James Tuttle, 23. Billy Meakes.