Allan Alaalatoa is bracing for a NSW Waratahs ambush as Super Rugby's title favourites prepare to meet an undermanned rival in damage control.
The ACT Brumbies will enter as heavy favourites against a depleted Waratahs outfit when the two sides collide at Canberra Stadium on Saturday night.
The Waratahs' depth is already being sorely tested after just one game in which the Queensland Reds piled on 41 unanswered points in a record victory over their NSW rivals.
NSW outside centre Izaia Perese is facing a heavy suspension following a red card for a dangerous tackle which derailed his comeback.
It is a devastating blow when coupled with the injury concerns hovering over scrumhalf Jake Gordon [left ankle] and inside centre Joey Walton [right ankle].
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The pair will be assessed after scans on Monday with Gordon seen hobbling around on crutches on Friday night.
"It's always a tough match against the Tahs, especially at home. They definitely have a point to prove," Alaalatoa said.
"I think everyone is just kind of writing them off, so I'm sure they're going to come up on Saturday with a point to prove.
"That's something we can continue to build on for ourselves heading into that game."
The Brumbies are pushing for a bumper crowd in their first home game of the season with the ACT government clearing the way for the venue to be at full capacity for the first time in almost 12 months.
A full house is wishful thinking at best but Alaalatoa will be relishing the chance to play in front of a Canberra crowd after attendances were restricted to 1500 for the bulk of Super Rugby AU last year.
The hosts enter the clash buoyed by an opening round win over the Western Force, who had no shortage of motivation in their first Super Rugby match on home soil in almost four years.
"We knew they were definitely going to come out hard in the first 20 minutes and our focus was just to make sure we brought our own intensity and understand where we needed to be better from the trial," Alaalatoa said.
"That first 20 minutes was a work-on for us. We look back on that game and see a positive there in the way we started the game. You've just got to be proud of the boys for the way we defended as well.
"It was definitely a good contest. Both sides did really well. We got a couple of penalties there, but that is definitely a work-on for us and something we can continue to build on heading into next week against the Tahs."
SUPER RUGBY AU ROUND TWO
Saturday: ACT Brumbies v NSW Waratahs at Canberra Stadium, 7.45pm. Broadcast: Live on Gem and Stan Sport. Tickets from Ticketek.