Kurtley Beale has backed Reece Hodge to start at outside centre for Australia on Saturday as the Wallabies look to record back-to-back wins over New Zealand.
Hodge has emerged as the frontrunner for the number 13 shirt after Michael Cheika left Curtis Rona out of his squad for the Rugby Championship opener in Sydney.
The 23-year-old is not the only option in midfield, though, with Israel Folau also a possibility, but Beale believes Hodge – who scored the winning penalty against the All Blacks in October – should get the nod.
"Reece is obviously a very versatile player and I'm sure if given an opportunity will step up and do a fine job," Beale said.
"Israel's obviously played there during Super Rugby as well and I'm sure he'll be able to get the job done as well.
"I'm pretty confident that whoever we put in that position they'll be pretty keen to get out there and express themselves and get the job done for the team."
#BREAKING l The #Wallabies squad ahead of the opening #BledisloeCup Test at @ANZStadium.— Qantas Wallabies (@qantaswallabies) August 12, 2018
TICKETS: https://t.co/lJcS2Ksx1e#BledisloeCup #AUSvNZL pic.twitter.com/JJpnTBlSmI
Hodge remains in the dark about his chances and knows things could easily change in the coming days as Australia step up their preparations.
"There's still a few guys in the squad who can play 13," he said. "Izzy's [Folau] still an option as well.
"At the moment, throughout the preparation, the last few weeks have been about trying as many combinations we can to get comfortable playing next to everyone who's in the squad and I think it's going to be really important for us come game one.
"Cheika's still got a week to change his mind about selections, so who knows, but we're prepared as best we can be for Saturday."
Whoever starts for Australia will come up against an All Blacks side without Sonny Bill Williams, but Beale says that makes little difference given the strength in depth Steve Hansen has at his disposal.
"The All Blacks are a world class team, they're the number one team in the world for a reason. Whoever they put in any position they step up and get the job done," he added.
"The big focus has been on us at the moment. We're well aware of the capabilities they'll bring on the weekend, but we know that if we have a full focus on what we want to deliver out there that will allow us to get the result that we want."
|Injury-plagued Nuggets beat Thunder to hold Western Conference lead|
|Southee takes five as Sri Lanka recover in Wellington|
|Kings troll Curry by playing clips of moon landing|
|Guardiola: Premier League title race similar to Barca-Madrid battles|
|Ovechkin joins rare NHL club with second straight hat-trick|
|Liverpool can´t be judged just on trophies – Klopp responds to Mourinho|
|Athletics´ Chapman undergoes procedure on left shoulder|
|Marcelo: Real Madrid miss Ronaldo|
|Ronaldo right about Juventus team spirit – Allegri|
|Klopp: I´m not the pope of football tactics|
|Stade beat Ospreys on emotional Chauvin tribute night|
|Ligue 1 survival bid a marathon not a sprint for Monaco, as club appoints distance runner|
|Vertonghen eyeing Spurs future beyond 2020|
|De Bruyne injuries could be a blessing for City, says Guardiola|
|Emery prepared to face Arsenal´s centre-back crisis|
|Ulster complete Scarlets double, Exeter gain Gloucester revenge|
|Sheffield United 1 West Brom 2: Baggies comeback boosts automatic promotion push|
|Del Potro back on court following knee injury|
|Canelo v Fielding: Rocky ready to write his own fairytale in New York|
|Boca part company with Schelotto after Copa Libertadores loss to River|
|Canelo v Fielding: Tale of the tape|
|Juventus defender Cancelo has knee surgery|
|Canelo v Fielding: Alvarez and Rocky make weight in New York|
|Spalletti does not fear another mid-season crisis at Inter|
|Salah headlines CAF Player of the Year shortlist as Koulibaly misses out|
|Beckham Jr. out of Titans clash|
|Lipsky hits the front at Leopard Creek|
|Pederson coy over Wentz back injury|
|Liverpool ´not really likely´ to be active in January window, reveals Klopp|
|Always on the move and unpredictable - Pavard reveals surprising choice over toughest opponent|
|We need to get back to respect - Lampard alarmed by hate in football|
|Giles returns to England to replace Strauss as director|
|Hansen has no issue with Milner-Skudder Toulon switch|
|Juventus to rest Ronaldo after Torino showdown|
|Titmus strikes gold again as world records tumble in Hangzhou|
|Malinga to captain Sri Lanka in New Zealand|
|Rivaldo would like ´excellent´ Isco at Barcelona|
|United a long way from Mourinho´s vision|
|´Klopp denies an answer!´ - Liverpool boss dismisses questions about ´world-class´ Pogba|
|Returning Nowitzki ´so tired´ after making NBA history|
|Aguero and De Bruyne in contention for Manchester City v Everton|
|Simeone has no plans to cash in on Costa|
|Canelo v Fielding: Alvarez´s greatest nights|
|Fabregas: Chelsea being unfairly scapegoated over racism allegations|
|Crisis? What crisis? Klopp focuses on defensive solutions for United clash|
|Hope cannot inspire Windies as Bangladesh cruise to series win|
|Benitez picks up Premier League Manager of the Month award|
|Chavez, Marquez and Canelo - Mexico´s greatest multi-weight world champions|
|Bale set to miss Real Madrid v Rayo Vallecano|
|Robben out until January as Bayern look to avoid serious injury|
|Milan avoid UEFA ban in FFP punishments.|
|Mourinho compares Liverpool to ´an amazing house´ but insists trophies matter|
|Brisbane Roar 2 Melbourne Victory 4: Muscat´s men hit A-League summit|
|Bumrah confident second Test is ´in the balance´ after India recovery|
|Isco gesture was for a corner or foul, claims Solari|
|Harris leads Australia into ascendancy on day one|
|ATP announces candidates to host future Finals|
|Ronaldo: Juventus fans refuse to lose to Torino|
|Hero Rivers feared he had cost Chargers in KC|
|Williams would welcome Llorente back to Athletic Bilbao|
|Liverpool v Manchester United: Minding the gap|
|Milan elimination unjust, fumes Leonardo|
|Paul hails ´sick´ Harden after record-breaking display|
|Liverpool v Manchester United: Salah, Mane and Firmino v Rashford, Martial and Lukaku in Opta number|
|Canelo open to GGG trilogy as he chases place in Mexican history|
|The big Friday Premier League quiz|
|Harden posts record fourth 50-point triple-double in win over Lakers|
|Barcelona squad happy with Dembele, says Alba|
|Chargers rally past Chiefs to clinch playoff spot|
|WATCH: Chargers top Chiefs on dramatic two-point conversion in final seconds|