Melbourne Rebels lock Matthew Philip is raring to return to the side’s starting XV after missing last week’s loss to the Stormers.
Philip was unavailable for selection due to sustaining a heal injury against the Sunwolves in round 8.
However, the lock says he’s ready to take his place in the forward pack in Saturday night’s huge Australian derby clash with the Waratahs.
“That’s actually the first game I’ve missed (a game) since being here for the Rebels, so it was a new experience for me,” Philip said.
“I certainly didn’t enjoy it, sitting on the edge of my seat sitting next to Dane (Haylett-Petty) and Anaru (Rangi), watching from the side lines was pretty tough to do.
“I’m thankful I get to be on the field again this week and try and put on a good performance.”
Saturday’s fixture against the Waratahs sees the Melburnians travel up the Hume Freeway to play at the historical SCG, a venue which has recently come under fire for the condition of its playing surface.
However, Philip says the surface has had no bearing on the side’s preparation, with the 25-year-old believing that because both teams will have to perform on the same pitch, it gives neither side any excuses.
“Look they’ve (Waratahs) got to play on the same pitch as us, I can’t really complain about it as such,” Philip said.
“I’m a Sydney boy and I’ve never actually been to the SCG and I’m pretty excited to go to a stadium with so much history.”
The Round 10 clash will see the Melburnians look to extend their seven-point lead atop of the Australian Conference over the second placed ‘Tahs.
And amongst the desire to rectify last week’s disappointing loss to the Stormers, Melbourne will also look to redeem themselves after dropping both games to the NSW side in 2018.
“As a team we were disappointed with what we put out on the pitch last Friday night, so this Saturday night we want to rectify that and put in a good performance,” Philip said.
“Last year (when we played NSW in Sydney), that really hot day, we were up and then we got gassed.
“They beat us twice last year, they’re a good team. Their backline and forward pack are full of Wallabies so, it’s going to be a tough match.”