Laurie Fisher says the race for a domestic Super Rugby crown has been "a turning point for Australian rugby" as the ACT Brumbies look to make history on their home turf.
The Brumbies are set to host the Queensland Reds in the Super Rugby AU decider in front of a sell-out crowd of 6000 fans at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.
The crowd has been capped at 25 per cent of the venue's capacity as health officials look to reduce the chances of a COVID-19 outbreak and tickets sold out in a matter of days.
Brumbies forwards coach Fisher is adamant a spate of Australian derbies has sparked a rise in the standard of rugby and renewed interest among what was a disillusioned fan base.
Border restrictions mean Australia and New Zealand could again host domestic competitions in 2021 with plans for a crossover finals series to crown a trans-Tasman champion.
MORE BRUMBIES NEWS
Brumbies players often say Australian derbies are the most physical encounters they play in while fans are able to recognise the bulk of the players on show every week - a luxury they didn't always have when teams played in unfavourable time slots around the globe.
Now the grand final hosts have a chance to create a lasting memory for fans in Canberra with the Brumbies set to host the decider for the first time in 16 years.
"I think it has improved every week," Fisher said.
"You haven't had to travel so you have had the chance to be in one place, albeit the [Western] Force and [Melbourne] Rebels not at home but certainly in an Australian environment where you can focus week in, week out, on getting better. I think it has been a turning point for Australian rugby.
"It's great the opportunity to attend the game has been snapped up so quickly. I do think there is a renewed interest, there's an excitement. Hopefully we can deliver something for Canberra and the region."
Queensland have not won a game in the capital since 2014, while the Brumbies have not won a game in Brisbane for five years.
The Reds face the task of travelling to Canberra on game day in a bid to upset the home town favourites but Fisher is confident Brad Thorn's side will be up to the task.
"I don't think it'll be particularly difficult to be honest, you've just got to hop on a plane and come down and play a game of footy. It's something that binds the team together," Fisher said.
"That won't affect the result either way, it'll be what happens between the white lines in the 80 minutes that will make the difference. They're a side that has improved as the year has gone on, they're playing with a lot of confidence.
"It's always exciting, it's one of the main reasons they play, to be in that last game of the year. I'm very pleased for the lads, a lot of hard work has gone into it. Hopefully we put our best foot forward."
SUPER RUGBY AU GRAND FINAL
Saturday: ACT Brumbies v Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium, 7.15pm.