You can call it mind games if you want. Allan Alaalatoa says "it was the late flight".
But the ACT Brumbies captain stole some shine from Queensland Reds counterpart James O'Connor a day out from the Super Rugby AU final.
The pair were due outside Lang Park for a media opportunity on Friday, but as O'Connor stepped up to the microphones, Alaalatoa was nowhere to be seen.
The Reds playmaker was asked if he thought the Brumbies were playing mind games, but played it off and said they'd be finishing captain's run.
As the wait went on, the cameras began to flash as O'Connor stood by the trophy. Then Alaalatoa sauntered across the concourse, arms outstretched with a grin on his face. Just a late flight that made captain's run go overtime, he said.
MORE RUGBY UNION
After all, the Reds should be okay to wait a little longer, right? The Brumbies say their opponents on Saturday night have been adopted as the darlings of the competition.
Nobody expects the Brumbies to win. History suggests they shouldn't either.
"To come out here and win a final away from home in front of a sold-out crowd, it would be huge and one of our finest memories yet," Alaalatoa said.
"It's going to be huge. We've seen it already all over social media, it's almost sold out. This will be one of the best memories yet for not only our senior players that have been around the Brumbies for a while, but even for some of our young guys who get to wear the jersey for the first time and get to start in the Brumbies jersey for the first time.
"It's a great opportunity, and that grand final vibe has been humming all week. The Reds are in red-hot form, they're a team that obviously have beaten us twice and a team that has been playing some great footy.
"They've got a home grand final in front of their fans, so we think the pressure is on them."
Of course, it is a final which could so easily have been played at Canberra Stadium. Twice the Brumbies have coughed up leads against the Reds in a pair of instant classics this year.
But the second clash would understandably leave them feeling as they though are playing with a chip on their shoulder.
It was in the dying seconds of a round eight clash when referee Nic Berry signalled advantage to the Brumbies with seconds remaining when Reds star Liam Wright had his hands in the ruck, but a penalty never came and they went down by two.
So while all talk of the Reds and a May 8 decider was once banned within the Brumbies' four walls, the ensuing month has been geared towards getting another shot at their fierce rivals.
The hosts have long declared this is their time. A sign of disrespect? Hardly, but it adds fuel to the fire for the Brumbies.
"We know what it's like to be No. 1 in Australia," Alaalatoa said.
"Obviously when you've got a home grand final and you're playing some great footy, you've beaten the title defenders twice, you would automatically have that vibe.
"We've got to make sure we come out and execute our game plan, try not to get too stirred up in the emotional side of things and just understand what we need to do from the first minute to the 80th."
SUPER RUGBY AU FINAL
Saturday: Queensland Reds v ACT Brumbies at Lang Park, 7.45pm. Broadcast: Live on Stan Sport and Channel Nine. Tickets from Ticketek.
ACT Brumbies squad: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Lachlan Lonergan, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Cadeyrn Neville, 6. Nick Frost, 7. Rory Scott, 8. Rob Valetini, 9. Nic White, 10. Noah Lolesio, 11. Tom Wright, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Len Ikitau, 14. Andy Muirhead, 15. Tom Banks. Replacements: 16. Folau Fainga'a, 17. Harry Lloyd, 18. Tom Ross, 19. Henry Stowers, 20. Luke Reimer, 21. Ryan Lonergan, 22. Reesjan Pasitoa, 23. Mack Hansen.
Queensland Reds squad: 1. Feao Fotuaika, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Ryan Smith, 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 6. Angus Scott-Young, 7. Fraser McReight, 8. Harry Wilson, 9. Tate McDermott, 10. James O'Connor (c), 11. Jock Campbell, 12. Hamish Stewart, 13. Josh Flook, 14. Jordan Petaia, 15. Bryce Hegarty. Replacements: 16. Alex Mafi, 17. Dane Zander, 18. Zane Nonggorr, 19. Seru Uru, 20. Liam Wright, 21. Kalani Thomas, 22. Isaac Henry, 23. Filipo Daugunu.
*The Brumbies are offering a package for fans including a charter flight to and from Brisbane, a ticket to the final, and one night's accommodation. Secure your seat here.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: