After taking the reigns as the Rebels’ inaugural Super W Head Coach, Thomas will be joined by newly signed Assistant Coaches Nick Piva-Giblett and Aaron Callister.
Callister has obtained over 14 years of coaching experience in rugby, previously having held positions as Head Coach at the Australian Defence Force Rugby Union Women’s team and the Royals Rugby Union Women’s team.
Piva-Giblett joins the Rebels having developed his coaching skills within the Rugby Victoria pathway system, highlighted by his role as the Melbourne University 1st XV Assistant Coach in 2018.After being the only woman to Head Coach a Super W side last season, Thomas says she is thrilled to have experienced coaches to work with for 2019.
“It is fantastic to have these two gentlemen on board and I really look forward to working with both of them this year,” she said.
“Aaron brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team and I really look forward to working with him."
“Nick is an up and coming coach who is passionate and eager to learn from other coaches (especially after) I worked with him in the U15’s program this year.”
After a year of learning in the inaugural Super W season in 2018, Thomas believes the team will build on the experiences and lessons gained from playing against well-established rugby states.It’s why Thomas is hopeful that those experiences have left her better off to help launch the side into a new campaign.
“We have been busily planning over the past month or so,” she said.“Last year we didn’t get any planning time and things were very fluid, so we were reacting to what was put in front of us.“
"Whereas this year we have laid down some really good plans and are ready to surprise some people.”
Head of the Pathway Academy, Nic Henderson, says Thomas’ re-appointment as Head Coach is a real positive for the Rebels commitment to developing an elite female rugby pathway.
“It’s really exciting to have Alana back on board for 2019,” he said.
“I think we’ll see the relationships she has developed with many of those women from last season continue to grow, which will only benefit the program."
“We’re particularly proud of the fact that Alana has established herself as one of the leading female coaches in all of Australia. As the only female head coach in Super W last year, she’s blazing a trail for all female coaches who have elite coaching aspirations,” said Henderson.
With the Melbourne Rebels Super W information day already gaining over 100 expressions of interest, Thomas believes the Rebels can now become a well-regarded destination for women’s rugby.
Above all else though, Thomas says she can’t wait to delve into pre-season and select the squad for 2019.
“It has been great to see athletes from other sports and states want to be involved in the Melbourne Rebels program,” she said.
“The information day will really set out the program and expectations on players around what it takes to be an elite athlete in a high-performance program."
“All the staff can’t wait to get out on the training paddock on Monday and start the selection process.”