Dear Members, Partners, Sponsors and Supporters,
Like you, I was cheering loudly and proudly for our Melbourne Rebels on Saturday night. We were all disappointed that we couldn’t get the job done against the Reds. Equally, as a Club, we are proud of the way our players, coaches and staff have represented our members, our fans, our city and our Rugby community over the last 12 weeks.
The sacrifices they have made away from family, their homes and their home ground is something we don’t take for granted and that we are very grateful for. The uncertainty and inconvenience has never been an excuse for our playing or coaching group - we have run out on the park to win each and every time we play, and desperately wanted to win the first ever Super AU tournament.
As we say goodbye to the 2020 season, one that will remain in our memories as the most unusual of times in our communities, workplaces and on our sporting fields, we now turn our attention to the upcoming international fixtures and to planning for the Rebels’ success in 2021.
My sincere congratulations to the nine Rebels who yesterday transitioned into Wallaby Camp to be part of Dave Rennie’s first 44-man Wallaby Squad. For Dane, Matt To’oomua, Marika, Jordy, Matty Philip, Jermaine and Reece, this is a very familiar environment.
Our Club is also thrilled that local products Trevor Hosea and Pone Fa’amausili have been recognised and their hard work throughout 2020 rewarded. Our Victorian rugby development system is driving success for local players not only in Super Rugby but at international level.
The Melbourne Rebels Board is now reviewing the 2020 season and our Club operations. In this regard, I would like to highlight some important aspects of our Club’s growth that are setting us up for success in 2021:
- We have re-signed approximately 70% of our 2021 playing roster and retain the high-performance structure that we are building, both in the playing group and the team’s strong culture. Our high player retention rate is testament to the continuing strength of our Club and we will be making several announcements later this month regarding the exciting new talent that will be joining our Club.
- We greatly appreciate the more than 2,000 members who have pledged or donated their 2020 membership and have further committed to the Club for 2021. We will be able to provide additional detail on 2021 membership as soon as competition fixtures are confirmed.
- The Club is set to turn a modest profit in 2020. Three years ago, when the Club was rescued from private ownership, we were burdened with an untidy P&L and had to make some hard decisions, but with your support and through the careful direction of our Board and management - driven by our Finance Committee chaired by Bob Dalziel - there has been a significant turnaround. This has been the result of hard work, discipline and sound financial management.
- In a further endorsement of our Club’s positive growth, our position has been bolstered by the signing of 12 commercial partners to date for the 2021 season. This is a fantastic result in uncertain times, and we thank them all for their brilliant support, especially our long-term partners for their continued support. We are also currently in significant talks with potential major partners.
- Together with Rugby Victoria, we achieved a landmark milestone for Rugby last month when the Victorian Government announced its commitment to the new Victorian State Rugby Centre as part of a $70m+ development at La Trobe University. This will also include a home for Football Victoria and the Matildas. The project represents the largest ever single investment in the game of Rugby in Victoria. Through this high performance and community facility, we will not only further strengthen the grassroots game, but provide a world standard high-performance pathway for all aspiring young Victorian male and female players.
While the precise structure of the Super Rugby competition in 2021 is yet to be confirmed, the Melbourne Rebels will be working to build on 2020 and achieve its vision of being Australia’s number one Super Rugby Club.
Through your wonderful support, we will continue to strive to ensure the Rebels is a Club that you can always be proud of.
I trust you are staying safe and well wherever you are in the world and rest assured that I will keep you updated as things evolve over the next short period.
Kind regards - Docs