Connal McInerney thought he was so far off Dave Rennie's radar he had no idea the Wallabies coach even had a players of national interest list.
So you can imagine the pure shock when the ACT Brumbies hooker got a call from the new national team coach a few weeks ago.
The 25-year-old has emerged as a potential Wallabies bolter for end of season Tests despite the uncertainty surrounding the international calendar amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The prospect of an international cap would be a dream way to close out a year that has the Brumbies on the cusp of Super Rugby AU glory.
"It's not something I was planning for, I was not something I saw in the foreseeable future," McInerney said.
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"I had just completely disregarded that altogether, I didn't even know there was a players of national interest thing getting around. It's just a bonus.
"It's nice to be noticed, but that's all it is at the moment. You've just got to remember it's not an official squad and it's changing all the time, so you've got to keep grounded.
"I had a chat [to Rennie] before the Tahs game. We discussed my strengths and I was asking for some things to work on. He didn't give me too much because I don't think he wanted to put too much pressure on me but we're chatting every week.
"It's good, hopefully we have another chat this week to see where we're at."
McInerney got his second start of the domestic campaign in the Brumbies' 31-14 win over the Western Force on Friday night, helping his side to secure hosting rights for the competition final on September 19.
The Brumbies have earned the right to play the decider at Canberra Stadium with players and officials hoping the ACT's crowd limit of 3000 at the venue can enjoy another spike.
McInerney admits the prospect of playing a final at home in front of a small crowd is a strange feeling. But who could have imagined the Brumbies would feature in a five-team competition featuring the Western Force this year?
New Zealand clubs were forced into their own domestic competition, Super Rugby Aotearoa, with the Canterbury Crusaders again staking their claim as the nation's premier team.
South African clubs are yet to resume, leaving McInerney to believe "we're just lucky to be playing". As for the prospect of winning an Australian-only competition, "you can only play the cards you are dealt".
But the Brumbies still have a huge task ahead of them if they are to claim the prize, with their round 10 clash against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane next week a potential final rehearsal.
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar could opt to bring hooker Folau Fainga'a back into the starting side in a move that would send McInerney back to the bench for the final match of the regular season campaign, from which his teammates say he has been their most consistent in 2020.
But to borrow something of a cliche, McInerney says "I'm just happy to be involved in the 23" alongside a man most see as certain to feature in a gold jersey at season's end.
"We kind of stick together and we learn from each other. We are obviously very different players ... it's good to pick up on some of his strengths and work towards being well-rounded and having a good, well-rounded game," McInerney said of his relationship with Fainga'a.
"We chat a lot, we're good mates as well so that helps. He's such a good player and good to learn off. He's a character, he's a bit of a grub as well, he's good for the group.
"He's a funny guy, light-hearted, and doesn't take things too seriously, so it's good. He brings you back down to earth in that regard.
"It's good, I know it's a cliche but I'm just happy to be involved. Whether I happen to be starting or playing off the bench, I'm just grateful to be getting good minutes every week.
"Your mindset changes, you pace yourself a bit if you're starting because you know you're playing bigger minutes. When you're coming off the bench, you just want to do as much as you can in the time you've got. It is very different."
SUPER RUGBY AU ROUND 10
Saturday: Queensland Reds v ACT Brumbies in Brisbane, 7.20pm.