Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says five-eighth Quade Cooper can't hide behind his forwards and must take it upon himself to ignite Australia against South Africa in Saturday's pivotal Rugby Championship clash in Perth.
Deans has made it clear he wants his enigmatic No.10 to run the ball to the line against the Springboks and assume some personal responsibility for getting the Wallabies on the front foot.
Cooper was criticised for his quiet return performance against New Zealand at Eden Park, but it was the Wallabies forwards who were widely blamed for not giving the backs the platform they needed to attack.
Deans wants Cooper to consistently take the ball forward and put the Springboks defence in two minds, and to do that he must be prepared to wear some physical punishment.
"To get the benefit of Quade's unique skill set we've got to create some momentum to bring him into the game and he's part of that as well," said Deans at the Wallabies' captain's run press conference on Friday.
"He needs to step forward and be prepared to take the ball to the line.
"Quade will be better. He can't help but be better, as will the group."
Saturday's Test shapes as critical for both coach and star playmaker, with pressure mounting on their respective positions.
Speculation suggests anything but a second-placed finish in the Championship would put Deans in grave danger of losing his job, after losing another Bledisloe Cup to New Zealand.
And Cooper - who has confirmed his interest in switching codes to join Sonny Bill Williams in rugby league - needs a strong performance to secure his starting spot, with star midfielders Pat McCabe and James O'Connor due back in coming weeks.
Australia's first-choice inside centre McCabe should be available to face Argentina on the Gold Coast next week, while O'Connor is expected to make the trip to South Africa later this month.
Berrick Barnes, who is currently at No.12, and O'Connor shape as genuine five-eighth options for Deans should Cooper fail to put his hand up against the Springboks in Perth.
Cooper loves an ad-lib style of play where he plays what's in front of him, but captain Will Genia said his Reds clubmate understands that the team needs their five-eighth to show more authority.
"He still has to fit into the team structures and things we want to do and achieve as a group," said Genia.
"He's stepped it up a level (at training) based on the past couple of weeks. His organisation and his communication and his willingness to get involved has been a lot better and hopefully that transitions into the game."
Australia must win what would be their fifth straight match against the Springboks to prevent South Africa from leapfrogging them into second spot in the world Test rankings.
Deans and Genia stressed the late withdrawal of hooker Stephen Moore to a hamstring problem won't disrupt preparations.
Queenslander Dom Shipperley, 21, will make his Test debut on the wing at Patersons Stadium and Genia said the speedster is ready to make an impact.
"His work rate's exceptional, he's strong, he's good under the high ball and he's got out and out pace which is obviously something you need as a good finisher," he said.