BERRY'S Will Miller and his ACT Brumbies are swapping sandbags for smiles as the coaching staff give the training schedule a makeover to keep players fresh in the face of uncertainty.
Brumbies assistant coach Peter Hewat says Dan McKellar and Laurie Fisher have worked to transform the team's training schedule as COVID-19 concerns grip the code.
Clouds of doubt hover over the immediate future of the Super Rugby season with the Brumbies aiming for an April 3 return in a revamped Australian schedule.
The finer details - including the draw - of a five-team Australian competition are still being nutted out, with ACT Brumbies boss Phil Thomson expecting that to be completed in the coming days.
That will determine who they will play, whether their previous games against NSW, Melbourne and Queensland will count and what the finals format will be.
It's hoped the latter will include not only Australian deciders, but also a Super Rugby champion with a finals series involving South African and New Zealand teams.
SANZAAR is also looking into the possibility of using chartered flights - like the NRL is doing - to minimise contact with the public and the chance of contracting the COVID-19 virus.
With this in mind, the Brumbies have done everything in their power to keep their troops fresh as staff look to ensure players don't fall into a grind of "feisty" training for weeks with no game to plan for.
"Lord and Dan have always got some nice ideas there in terms of fun games, and the boys have got their own games as well," Hewat said.
"It's just keeping that balance of staying motivated to get better but also keeping the enjoyment, which is always part of our program anyway.
"We've got to keep things fun and enjoyable, a little bit old school.
"That's why we play rugby, because we enjoy the game.
"We've added a few new things just to keep the guys enthused and happy whilst getting enough hard work in.
"That's the hard thing, in terms of keeping the guys motivated.
"The leaders have been really good in terms of driving standards when we need to be on and we've had fun when we've had fun.
"It's that balance... we're not sure when we're up next but we've also got to be prepared and have enough in our game to be ready to go when asked."
The Brumbies are playing the waiting game ahead of an intra-conference competition launch featuring the return of the Western Force.
Super Rugby clubs from all three conferences are preparing for competition to resume in some form but so little remains certain in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
A cross-border finals series is being explored but isn't necessarily set in concrete given travel restrictions designed to slow the spread of the virus.
The Brumbies have won five of their opening six matches this season with three of those triumphs coming against in Queensland, NSW and Melbourne.
"We'd be happy to play Aussie derbies every week, so if we've got to do that, we're happy to do that," Hewat said.
"We just want to play footy. No matter what model that looks like, we're just happy to abide and get into it.
"We're obviously not sure when we're going to play next, we're just ready to go whenever. We're just waiting to hear from SANZAAR and RA on what our next step forward is.
"The boys have been outstanding this week... in terms of improving our game and looking to get better individually."