The mental shift that helped Kellaway find his groove

· Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Originally published on

Rebels winger Andrew Kellaway says allowing to feel a bit more negativity into his life has helped him find some comfort in his second Super Rugby stint.

Kellaway is in his first season in Australia since 2018 after a stint with English side Northampton, and lead Super Ruby in tries scored this season when the coronavirus shut down with seven.

Kellaway came into Super Rugby considered a prodigious talent and holding the world record for most tries scored at the World Rugby U20s.

While he showed glimpses of promise in his time with the Waratahs, injuries and inconsistency ultimately saw him head to England.

The 24-year-old said he felt "lucky" to have landed at the Rebels and have another chance in Super Rugby.

"I think I've been lucky a few times and I've been lucky again in that I jumped on the back of a really good team but within that there's some fantastic blokes here that really make the beast work," he said.

"I'm just lucky to slide in there and do my sweeping and be a small part of that and I've loved it so far."

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Kellaway said he felt being more in touch with his emotions, most notably some more negative feelings, had helped him find a mindset that was paying off on the field.

"There has been a few questions marks (about effort) from other people in the past and I suppose the biggest thing that shifted for me is that it's okay to be different and to feel differently and you can't just be happy and stoked about everything all the time," he said.

"It is actually okay to be angry about things and I feel like I'm not weighed down as much by not having to force positivity all the time.

"I've been lucky to meet more than most in the sense of people in rugby, and over the last little while the consensus for me in my experience is that the guys who were playing well and were at the top of their game relative to where I was at, all had this self confidence. just trusted how they felt and weren't willing to compromise on that because of something someone read in a book."

After more than two months without competitive rugby, and likely another month to go, the Rebels have been able to train in groups of 20 this week.

It's the closest that the players have been to actually playing since the season shut down and Kellaway said it was a welcome development.




"It's pretty big being able to have that change, it really changes the dynamic of the group but more so everyone's got a better sense of where were're at with our rugby," he said.

"Things are pretty uncertain so having that certainty from the rugby stuff back gives guys a little positivity that we will eventually be back playing.

"It's not stuff we're used to, particularly the guys in the middle or start of their careers, we're not used to having no routine because we're normally so regimented.

"Normally we only get two weeks completely off in a year and the other two weeks off we're expected to be training.

"You're never away from the club for this long or away from rugby in general.

"We've been training like runners so being back into rugby and having that routine has been really important and now we get to try and pick up where we left off and continue that going forward."

Kellaway's focus in the short-term is on getting back on the park in Super Rugby AU but beyond that his future is less clear.

The utility back is off-contract this season and been linked to another  overseas move amid the uncertainty around player pay for 2021 and beyond but he said he hadn't made any clear decisions.

"That's (getting back to playing) the priority and it's hard to make plans at the moment," he said.

"No one really knows what's going on and that's frustrating. Whilst we appreciate there seriously bigger things going on in the world and in Australia, this stuff is relative.

"It's important for guys and important for guys across country to know it's okay to be frustrated with all this stuff and the state of the game.

While this year has been disruptive for players, Kellaway made a point of mentioning the club's staff and the challenges they have faced, among the thousands of people around Australia who have had their hours or pay cut significantly.

All of the Rebels staff have had their hours cut down to match the JobKeeper pay amount but many at the club, and in other organisations, are putting in extra hours on top of that to keep clubs ticking along.

"I think it's important to recognize the work that a lot of our staff are doing because most of them have been doing a lot of work unpaid and doing longer hours than the players," he said.

"I'm sure it's the same at other franchises and I just think those people for me are a testament to our game.

"It's a shame that the game isn't always repaying them with the same level of commitment if you can call it that, if the public could see the work, maybe they'd reconsider the way they'd feel about the game in Australia."

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