OPINION: If the Wallabies are to have any chance of winning in Auckland for the first time in 26 years and keeping the Bledisloe Cup series alive, Quade Cooper must be in the Australian starting line-up.
Strap up the injured James O'Connor and get him out there as well. Even on one leg, O'Connor would offer more than the rudderless Wallabies attack produced on Saturday night.
The inclusion of Cooper either at No 10, No 12 or even fullback is imperative, because without him the Wallabies will be wasting everyone's time travelling to New Zealand - and not for the first time.
At the Wallabies team hotel yesterday, it was groundhog day. The monotony of loss after carbon-copy loss to the All Blacks is driving everyone mad.
Wallabyphiles have been through this ridiculous routine too many times before. The pattern never changes: in the test lead-up, there are high hopes.
Out come the claims from the players that this is actually going to be the moment when at last the Wallabies make the first positive step towards winning a cup that has been cocooned away in the New Zealand Rugby Union headquarters in Wellington the past decade.
Then, after all the chest-beating, there are the usual big-night nerves - and they collapse in a squirming heap as soon as the spotlight is directed at them.
With that, the usual excuses are dredged up. Nerves. Panic. Dreadful execution. Wasted opportunities. Substandard skills. A lack of maturity and composure. Pressure got to them once again. Smashed in the physical confrontation. And so big-name-on-big-bickies players are again small-time losers.
But most disconcerting about this Wallabies line-up is their lack of attacking penetration. A country that once thrived on a mantra of running rugby is now focused on defence, and often inept when an attacking chance arises. No wonder David Campese, Mark Ella and company squirm in their seats.
That's where Cooper comes in. Sure it is a risk after the way New Zealanders successfully baited Cooper during last year's World Cup. But he provides something different, something ingenious, something unpredictable, something the All Blacks can never prepare for.
It has been a while admittedly, but Cooper is one of the very few in the Wallabies squad who is actually a match winner. Without him the Wallabies look so predictable. With him, they have an edge. Apart from ensuring they get the best out Digby Ioane, and bring the spark back to Will Genia's game, it gives Australia another kicking option.
It is asking too much for Berrick Barnes to kick everything, particularly with virtually everyone else in the back line having little idea how to boot a ball. But with Cooper there is someone who can soak up some of that kicking strain.
If Cooper is included, he shouldn't have the problem of being subjected to endless New Zealand pressure. The venom directed against Cooper during the World Cup was relentless - it would have affected anyone. In the end you felt sorry for him.
He will be in the Shaky Isles from late Thursday night until Sunday afternoon, and if he is protected well by the Wallabies management, who must hide him away from the hordes, he will cope. Most importantly, he wants to prove to the country where he grew up that he is still something special.
He says he loves the big moments, and Cooper needs no reminding that moments don't get much bigger than on Saturday. He deserves a second chance - and an opportunity to exorcise those demons.
- FFX Aus