Allan Alaalatoa hates missing game day.
You didn't have to be a rugby fan to know the ACT Brumbies captain wasn't playing with his teammates last week. The lawn mower got a workout, no matter how short the grass might have already been. And his poor wife Filo, she was more likely to get a sentence out of a brick wall.
But the lawn mower has stayed in the shed this week. Filo even made a point of telling her husband "you're a lot calmer this week". His response was simple: "that's because I get to play".
Alaalatoa has vowed to rip in as the Brumbies welcome back an all-star front-row to face the Queensland Reds, who look to have lost Lukhan Salakaia-Loto to injury, in Brisbane on Saturday night.
James Slipper and Folau Fainga'a will return alongside Alaalatoa, with the recharged trio determined to defy history and help the Brumbies to their first win over the Reds in Brisbane since 2015.
MORE RUGBY UNION
"I hate [watching and not playing]. I was anxious all day really, I had to keep busy, mow the lawns all day," Alaalatoa said after being rested during last week's trip to Perth.
"It was a late kick-off too so it was only worse for my wife, who had to cop nothing at home. I was giving her nothing, one [word] answer to her questions. I almost had a heart attack [watching last week], just pacing up and down the house.
"When you're back with the team and you're able to be out there, I think I'm more calm doing that than watching. I can't wait, I'm keen to rip in."
Classics have become par for the course in the Brumbies' recent clashes with the Reds. While their last date - a four-point win to the Brumbies a fortnight ago - might not have fit the same mould, it was still a grandstand finish.
But the Brumbies travel to Queensland needing to overturn the odds. The home team has won 14 of the past 15 encounters between these two sides. The outlier was a Reds win in Canberra last year thanks to a last-gasp Jordan Petaia try.
The margin in seven of the past eight games between the two sides has been five points or less.
"The way we've put it, we haven't won there in seven years. We understand when the Reds are at [home], they thrive off the energy of their fans. It's a tough task ahead but from us, we can't wait for that challenge. We've felt the energy all week," Alaalatoa said.
"We know it's going to be really tough, we've spoken a lot about that throughout the week. We've got that feel after playing a couple of away games now, we've been over to Melbourne a couple of weeks ago and now we've been over to Perth.
"The way we've prepared this week has been unreal. We're in a good place as a team and we're really thriving for the opportunity to go out there and perform."
Saturday marks a top-of-the-table clash, albeit with the Super Rugby Pacific ladder somewhat warped given there has been no trans-Tasman interaction to date.
But the Brumbies enter round seven with a perfect 6-0 record. The Reds are second on the ladder, with their only loss coming in that gritty Canberra affair.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie's squad for a camp next week includes 15 Brumbies and eight Reds. There is no doubt this is a collision of Australian rugby's heavyweights, the two clubs with the best chance of lifting silverware this year.
"It's just going to be us out there against what will be almost a full-capacity crowd, we can't wait," Alaalatoa said.
SUPER RUGBY PACIFIC ROUND SEVEN
Saturday: Queensland Reds v ACT Brumbies at Lang Park, 7.45pm. Broadcast live on Stan Sport.
Brumbies team: 1. James Slipper, 2. Folau Fainga'a, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Nick Frost, 6. Rob Valetini, 7. Jahrome Brown, 8. Pete Samu, 9. Ryan Lonergan, 10. Rod Iona, 11. Andy Muirhead, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Len Ikitau, 14. Tom Wright, 15. Jesse Mogg. Reserves: 16. Lachlan Lonergan, 17. Scott Sio, 18. Sefo Kautai, 19. Tom Hooper, 20. Ed Kennedy, 21. Nic White, 22. Hudson Creighton, 23. Cam Clark.
Reds team: 1. Harry Hoopert, 2. Josh Nasser, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Ryan Smith, 5. Angus Blyth, 6. Liam Wright (co-c), 7. Fraser McReight, 8. Harry Wilson, 9. Tate McDermott (co-c), 10. James O'Connor, 11. Filipo Daugunu, 12. Hamish Stewart, 13. Hunter Paisami, 14. Josh Flook, 15. Jordan Petaia. Reserves: 16. Richie Asiata, 17. Feao Fotuaika, 18. Zane Nonggorr, 19. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 20. Tuaina Taii Tualima, 21. Kalani Thomas, 22. Isaac Henry, 23. Lawson Creighton
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:
My passion for journalism can be traced back to Mighty Ducks match reports and reading the Sunday paper with my old man. A love of sport turned into a passion for telling stories, breaking news and being a reliable voice.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.