Melbourne Rebels hooker Jordan Uelese says he’s proud to be playing his part in inspiring the next generation of Victorian rugby players, with the Rebels continuing to showcase a host of local talent in this year’s Vodafone Super Rugby AU competition.
Uelese was joined in the matchday XV last week by fellow Victorian products Rob Leota, Pone Fa’amausili and Trevor Hosea – a club record for the most ever Victorian pathway players to play together in a Super Rugby match.
Speaking to the media today, Uelese says it’s phenomenal to be a part of such a special time in Victorian rugby history.
“It’s been very exciting playing alongside guys you’ve grown up with and gives you that homely feel – the team to us mean different to other guys who haven’t really grown up in Victoria,” said Uelese.
“It’s been really fun playing with the boys I used to play with growing up in Victoria and really fun seeing Pone have a great game against the Reds and Trevor Hosea coming through the ranks – he’s done really well.
“There’s five Victorian’s on this touring party and I think that speaks volumes on the pathways of the Melbourne Rebels and Victorian community rugby and what they’ve done in terms of setting a platform, academies and investing money into communities to try and get players to come through.
“Players who are on tour with us – Pone, Rob Leota, Matt To’omua was also born here – show there’s a lot of players coming through the Victorian system and I’m very excited to see how many more come through.”
The twenty-three-year-old is one of the original members of the ‘Burn City Boys’ group – a group focused on graduating through Victorian Rugby’s development pathways to playing at the highest level of professional competition and raising the status of Melbourne Rugby in the process.
Since making his professional Super Rugby debut in 2017, Uelese has developed into a core member of the Rebels playing squad and now has his sights set on becoming an influential role model for aspiring rugby players across Victoria.
“It always has been.”
“Being the first Wallaby from Victoria and coming through the ranks, you are a role model and trying to bring up the next generation coming through.
“We are role models in that sense and we’re trying to allow pathways for future Victorian’s to come through and where the jersey and hopefully there’s many more to come."
The Rebels tackle the Waratahs at 7:05pm this Friday night at the SCG.