It probably won't surprise many All Blacks supporters, but the Wallabies and their skipper Michael Hooper are supremely confident they will end a decade and a half of hurt against their nearest enemy by re-claiming the Bledisloe Cup this year, starting with a win in Sydney tomorrow.
For the Aussies to have any chance of winning the famous old trans-Tasman trophy for the first time since 2002, they really do have to win at ANZ Stadium.
Their run at Eden Park has been even worse than their recent failures in the Bledisloe Cup competition so, realistically, they have to get one hand on the cup and back themselves to finish the job in Tokyo in October should they fail to get it done in Auckland next weekend.
The man leading them, on the field, at least, hasn't played for the past two months due to a hamstring tear suffered in the first test against Ireland in June, but flanker Hooper has stated that he and his team are ready to win back the Bledisloe.
He has declared the breakdown area – where he will team up with the dangerous David Pocock – as crucial and himself fit to make his mark against Sam Cane, Liam Squire, and the returning Kieran Read.
"I feel really ready and furthermore I think the team feels really ready," Hooper said today after his side completed their training for the week with a captain's run in bright sunshine at the stadium.
"I'm going to come out guns blazing. We'll see how it goes," he said of his ability to play the whole game. "The best minutes to be on the field are at the back end of the game so I'd love to be there … [but it's] whatever is best for the team.
"It comes down to speed at the ruck. That is so important at test level. Yes the set piece has a part in handling momentum but being able to maintain our ball and slow their ball up … we know what they can do with ball in hand and we know we're fully capable of scoring points, we showed that in June and we've shown it in other times.
"The back row has a fair bit to do with the ruck – attacking and defending – getting that area sorted is paramount.
"The Kiwi players are very good there as well. It's going to be a good battle."
Hooper was positive about his team's chances this time last year too. He sat in the same room under the stadium and spoke about how good his team's preparation was then as well only to watch, almost helpless, as the All Blacks turned on a blitzkrieg of a start in the first 50 minutes to lead 54-7.
What, if anything, has changed? Quite a bit, he replied. "Plenty is made about the history but all we can speak about is this group right now," he said. "Right now we're sitting here on a Friday feeling happy with our prep. And there are different players [compared] with last year.
"There is no easy way around this thing. It's going to be hard and that's why different teams and different players have struggled over the last I don't know how many years. It is going to be hard and we like it that way… bring it on."
As for Read, Hooper believed the All Blacks skipper would be as good as usual despite playing his first test of the year following his return from back surgery.
"As a player he's all class… In the games I've watched when he comes back from injury he's able to perform," Hooper said. "He will be just a threat as he always is, even if he hasn't been playing all year. He had a successful back end to that Crusaders campaign so I'm expecting him to not miss a beat. He'll be good to go."