The Melbourne Rebels Super W have made four changes ahead of round two’s historic clash with the Brumbies in Ballarat on Saturday.
Annika Jamieson, Sally Kehoe and Mikeala Welti have been brought into the starting XV, while Nawel Remini replaces Tiarah Minns in the second row.
Melbourne will be looking for its first win of the Super W Rugby season, following last Friday’s 33-3 loss at home to the Waratahs.
It was an impressive twenty-four-point turnaround for the Melbourne club, which suffered a tough 66-12 loss to NSW last year.
Despite the challenging conditions, Melbourne showcased an improved level of resilience, skill and tenacity.
Head coach Alana Thomas believes the impressive opening performance was the result of a strong off-season.
“I thought our defence was really good at times.”
“We have recruited well, and a big focus has been around both on and off the field during the pre-season.”
“I feel we have a great culture this year with some really good leaders, so it’s a really positive feeling within the team.”
Thomas identified a greater focus on the fundamentals of the game on the field, while also improving the relationships off it, as key factors` behind the Rebels vast improvement.
“We have seen a big improvement in the core skills of the players, which has allowed them to execute the game plan well.”
“The players have really taken on board the game plan, while also making sure we’ve spent time off-field getting to know each other away from the field, such as having dinner post training, games nights and the jersey presentations.”
“Just simple little things that bring a team closer together and were once overlooked in previous years.”
While last week’s performance was impressive, Melbourne will need to be even better against a Brumbies team fresh off a round one 29-10 win over RugbyWA.
“We will need to improve our set piece,” noted Thomas.
“We were very disappointed in this area of the game and knowing that the Brumbies have a very strong set piece, so that has been the focus this week."
Despite last season's 69-0 defeat to the Brumbies, Thomas believes her club will take great confidence away from their recent trial win over the Brumbies in the pre-season.
“We take great confidence out of that.”
“I believe it will be a tight game and one that we are looking forward to getting on the field with the men again, in front of our home crowd and putting on an even better performance than last Friday.”
Melbourne Rebels Women’s team to play Saturday, February 22 against the Brumbies Women at Mars Stadium, 12:15pm:
1. Janita Kareta 2. Ashley Marsters 3.Titilia Yabaki 4.Annika Jamieson 5. Nawel Remini 6. May Saaga 7. Melanie Kawa © 8. Sally Kehoe 9. Georgia Cormick 10. Meretiana Robinson © 11. Vani Vaaga 12. Ashleigh Walker 13. Nicola Emsley 14. Jessica Rastrick 15. Mikaela Welti 16. Eirenei Nanai 17. Indiana Lewis 18. Piper Tuifao 19. Brooke Saunders 20. Norma Fuaiva’a 21. Sheniqua Taula 22. Tayler Savage 23. Tyra Boysen-Auimatagi