Forget scrums, carries, tackles and winning back the Bledisloe Cup from the All Blacks. Allan Alaalatoa's toughest rugby union assignment?
"Where I struggled the most was delivering the message," the Wallabies prop said.
If this softly-spoken West Harbour ball boy with a rugby union dream was going to make it, he was going to let his actions do the talking.
Like they did when he was a teenager ignoring work duties at the Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL pokies in 2013, just to watch Scott Sio play a Super Rugby final for the ACT Brumbies.
For the next six years Alaalatoa's actions did the talking - but now the 26-year-old wants his voice to be heard. Ahead of his 36th Test, Alaalatoa feels like a leader in gold armour.
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Bench props Alaalatoa and Sio will be handed the task of closing the show in the first Bledisloe Cup match against the All Blacks in Wellington on Sunday afternoon.
Rest assured Alaalatoa will be ready. His elevation to the Brumbies' captaincy role this season forced him out of his comfort zone. It forced him to stand up in front of his teammates and make sure his voice was heard. A vote of confidence from club coach Dan McKellar is all he needed.
A look at how the year panned out suggests he is relishing the challenge of leading from the front - the Brumbies were crowned Super Rugby AU champions, and Alaalatoa won his second consecutive Brett Robinson Award as the club's players' player.
"This year forced me to get out of my comfort zone. I'm not really a talker, I was someone who just led by my actions," Alaalatoa said.
"I was kind of forced to be in that position, to be someone who led by my actions but also use my language. The area I grew in was using my language more throughout the week, sending the message and understanding what was important at the time, and just not overdoing it.
"Obviously there were a few nerves at the beginning of this year, but as I got more time with the captaincy over my head, I believe I grew with delivering messages and my language.
"Leading by my actions is something I did well and something I wanted to be better at, but it was always the language I struggled with. I definitely grew in that area.
"The way I played, I always want to go out there and do well for the team. Where I struggled the most was delivering the message. This year allowed me to grow in that area.
"When I came into this environment, I felt more confident in using my voice as it was needed. You don't want to overdo it, but definitely, the leadership role I had at Brumbies has helped me to bring that forward into the Wallabies crew as well."
So much has been made of Rennie's arrival heralding the beginning of a new era for Australian rugby, where players are picked on performance with a revamped game plan to upset the All Blacks.
Among Rennie's first Wallabies squad sit four debutants who enter the contest free of scars left by past defeats. Mentoring them is a new coaching staff with the Wallabies hunting their first win in New Zealand since 2001.
"That's the best thing about this weekend, it's a nice fresh start. We've got a whole new coaching staff, a whole new playing group," Alaalatoa said.
"A lot of fresh faces, fresh faces bring that new excitement. Everyone is keen as to be involved, and to get that opportunity to wear the Wallabies jersey. We've got a lot of great energy.
"For us, it's mainly about getting the detail on board and understanding how the coaching staff want us to play. That has been a huge focus.
"We're not writing ourselves off. There is total belief. There is a reason why everyone has been picked in this squad, because everyone is good enough to represent their country.
"We have the belief to go out there and beat the All Blacks."
Game one: Sunday October 11 - New Zealand v Australia at Wellington, 2pm AEDT.
Wallabies squad: 1. James Slipper, 2. Folau Fainga'a, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5. Matt Philip, 6. Harry Wilson, 7. Michael Hooper (c), 8. Pete Samu, 9. Nic White, 10. James O'Connor, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Matt To'omua, 13. Hunter Paisami, 14. Filipo Daugunu, 15. Tom Banks. Replacements: 16. Jordan Uelese, 17. Scott Sio, 18. Allan Alaalatoa, 19. Rob Simmons, 20. Rob Valetini, 21. Jake Gordon, 22. Noah Lolesio, 23. Reece Hodge.
All Blacks squad: 1. Joe Moody, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Ofa Tuungafasi, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu, 5. Samuel Whitelock, 6. Shannon Frizell, 7. Sam Cane (c), 8. Ardie Savea, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Richie Mo'unga, 11. George Bridge, 12. Jack Goodhue, 13. Rieko Ioane, 14. Jordie Barrett, 15. Damian McKenzie. Replacements: 16. Dane Coles, 17. Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18. Nepo Laulala, 19. Tupou Vaa'i, 20. Hoskins Sotutu, 21. TJ Perenara, 22. Anton Lienert-Brown, 23. Caleb Clarke.