His surgery recovery well ahead of schedule, Kurtley Beale will be pitted against fellow Wallabies Israel Folau and Bernard Foley in a battle for key NSW Waratahs positions to start the new Super Rugby season.
Beale turned out at Waratahs training on Friday for the first time since undergoing a shoulder operation and coach Michael Cheika said he was now sure to be ready for the season opening in February.
Cheika was looking forward to the selection dilemma Beale's return to the Tahs presents as he challenges for Folau's fullback role or Foley's five-eighth spot when that pair get back from the Wallabies' Europe tour.
"He (Beale) has that flexibility as a playmaker no matter where he plays," Cheika said.
"If he plays at fullback or at five-eighth, he can do that job for us.
"Obviously we have a few issues to decide as to how the shape of the side will pan out.
"But what I am looking for when everyone gets back is how they'll compete with each other.
"That's what I'll decide from."
One thing Cheika won't be doing is shifting code-hopper Folau to the wing - something Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie tried before seeing better value in him at fullback.
"He can play in a few positions, but I wouldn't be a big fan of playing him on the wing ... I don't think that will happen," he said.
Outside centre would be a possibility for Folau, should Cheika decide Beale is his best fullback option.
Beale received his start at the Waratahs as a teenage five-eighth and he's also spent plenty of time in that role for the Wallabies.
But Cheika also has a high regard for incumbent Foley, who he persuaded to backflip on a move to the Melbourne Rebels for next season.
And he noted Foley, like Beale, offers great versatility, including another fullback option.
"You can see that from the bench the Wallabies have picked, he (Foley) is obviously covering the wing, fullback and a few other places as well," he said.
"I invested a lot into him last year and he made a massive decision to stay with us even though he was offered plenty to go with other people."I'd like to reward that."