Lachlan Lonergan knows his days as a development player just happy to be in ACT Brumbies training kit are behind him.
Now Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has challenged the 21-year-old hooker to push for a place in the match day 23 for Super Rugby AU's title favourites.
It looms as a tall order with Wallaby Folau Fainga'a and Connal McInerney - who was drafted into the national team camp last year - ahead of him in the pecking order.
But Lonergan began to stake his claim in a strong showing for the Brumbies Runners in a 27-21 trial match loss to the Melbourne Rebels at RMC's Portsea Oval on Friday.
The match was shifted from Albury to Canberra after the Rebels relocated to the capital after being forced out of Melbourne to avoid being trapped in lockdown for the start of the season.
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It served as a crucial chance for the likes of Lonergan and Reece Tapine to get minutes under their belt after missing selection for the Brumbies' season opener against the Western Force.
"I want to play week in, week out, that's my goal. You don't do 10 weeks of pre-season to not get selected in the 23," Lonergan said.
"It's a good challenge for myself, two quality hookers [ahead of me]. We're just going to be competing, it's not only good for us but it's good for the team. We're going to go harder at training, and it will make them want to play harder in the game.
"It is exciting. Obviously I've still got to put in hard work, pre-season is just the start of it but it's a big year ahead. They're two quality hookers as well, so whoever they pick, I'm sure they will do the job.
"I'm happy to be a part of it and it would be awesome if I could get in that match day squad week in, week out."
The match was Joe Powell's Canberra homecoming while sidelined Rebels stars Matt To'omua and Dane Haylett-Petty traded key on-field roles for positions as water boys.
But more pressing for the Brumbies staff on hand - keeping in mind head coach Dan McKellar is on the other side of the country for a date with the Force - were the performances of the Canberra club's prospects.
Eighteen-year-old Junior Tupou displayed dazzling footwork on the wing while Gungahlin wrecking ball Tamati Ioane continued to impress at No. 8 for a Brumbies outfit boasting a mix of Super Rugby squad members, development players and John I Dent Cup stars.
"Obviously it was a bit unorganised but the lads went hard, the young boys at the end there really ripped in and showed what they are capable of," Lonergan said.
"All credit to the young lads that came on at the back end there. It was a good challenge. They were pretty tough up front, big boys, but that was what we needed.
"It will be really beneficial for not only myself, but the other lads and especially the young boys. It's an awesome experience to face a Super Rugby team and see how far off they are or if they're not far off at all."
There is little doubt Lonergan is right on the cusp as the Brumbies dive head first into a hectic campaign boasting a domestic competition and a trans-Tasman tournament.
"Lachie Lonergan has been one of our best in pre-season, so that was a really tough decision for Noss to miss out [in round one]," McKellar said.
"As I spoke to him about during the week, he'll play a lot of Super Rugby this year. The days are over for Noss where he is just a development player happy to be in the squad.
"He wants to challenge Connal, Folau, and Billy [Pollard], making sure he is in the 23 every week. We've got four really good hookers there now with young Billy Pollard starting to mature in that position.
"It's good everyone gets a chance to wear the jersey this week and push their case for the following week."