The Brumbies are confident they can clinch another Australian conference title despite losing five Wallabies in the Super Rugby off-season.
The Brumbies lost 157 Test caps with the departures of David Pocock, Christian Lealiifano, Henry Speight, Rory Arnold and Sam Carter - and haven't signed any Wallabies.
Coach Dan McKellar vowed to stick with his young guns coming through the ranks and remains "comfortable and confident" heading into the season opener on January 29.
"To bring someone in externally to train them up on what's expected of them on-field and off-field, there's a whole lot of work there and you're not necessarily going to get it right," McKellar said.
"So we'll back the young guys. They're young guys but we're backing them because they're ready to go and they'll be ready to go on the 31st."
McKellar admitted his side won't be filled with household names in round one against the Queensland Reds but said that had never stopped the Brumbies before.
"The Brumbies have always sort of relished that (underdog) tag, haven't they," McKellar said.
"From day one in 1996, from one year to the next. We'll just go about our work nice and quietly here in Canberra and be ready."
The squad have spent the past 10 days jostling for positions in Newcastle after bushfire smoke forced their preseason from Canberra.
The most competitive spot is five-eighth, with rookies Bayley Kuenzle, Noah Lolesio and Reesjan Pasitoa battling for the No. 10 jersey.
"The boys are challenging each other and competing nicely which is what we want, I've got an idea in my head in terms of the direction we'll go," McKellar said.
"We've got a bit of work to get through yet, no doubt there will be some bumps and bruises to come out of that ... but yeah we're getting closer.
"We've got to prioritised and understand that we're not going to be perfect in round one, but no year you are.
"We just have to continue to build and get better as the weeks go by."