The Melbourne Rebels have added Josh Canham, Sione Lolesio, Isaac Aedo Kailea and Moses Poreo to their training squad for the upcoming pre-season in preparation for the 2021 Super Rugby AU season.
After successfully graduating from the Rebels Academy program, all four players will be looking to follow in the footsteps of former Academy members and current Rebels and Wallaby squad members Jordan Uelese and Trevor Hosea. Backrower Sione Lolesio, who developed his game at Wyndham City, jumped at the opportunity to join the Rebels for his preseason training with the club.
Lolesio says he’s grateful for the exciting opportunity to fast track his development.
“It’s definitely been something I’ve been looking forward to for a while now, so I’m excited see how far I go and to make my family and all my loved ones proud of thriving in doing what I love most – which is playing the game of rugby.”
Hailing from Brighton Grammar, Canham said his time with the Rebels Academy has made his transition to the Rebels training group “seamless” and believes the coming weeks will go a long way to helping him realise his goal of making the Australian Under-20’s representative side in 2021.
“It’s been awesome training alongside some of the boys I’ve been looking up to for years and years now,” said Canham.
“The Academy has really helped prepare me for this - specifically Hendo’s (Nic Henderson) work around line outs and catch passes, as well as Brendo’s (Brendan Whelan) strength and conditioning, which has helped prepare me for this opportunity.”
Former Harlequins Colts star and Junior Wallabies Squad member, Isaac Aedo Kailea, enjoyed a strong domestic campaign this year after he travelled to Brisbane and played with Uni of Queensland when the Victorian competitions were indefinitely suspended.
Having been part of the Rebels training squad in 2019, Aedo Kailea, has hit the ground running since returning to the Stockade on Monday.
“It’s been really exciting so far, and everyone’s been so welcoming,” said Aedo Kailea. “I got a feel for Super Rugby training last pre-season, so to be back in the same environment training with some other academy boys has been good.”
Joining Isaac is livewire scrumhalf, Moses Poreo, also hailing from Harlequins Rugby Club.
A Fountain Gate Secondary College product, Poreo was a valued member of the Rebels Under-18 Academy squad in 2020.
Poreo says his biggest takeaway from week one of Super Rugby training has been the Rebels positive culture and the strong level of support he’s received from his new teammates.
“It’s a privilege and a massive step moving up from the Academy,” said Poreo.
“I’m thrilled to be where I am right now, training with the main squad; there’s just so much energy, love and support from the boys both on and off the field.
“It’s a crazy experience being able to train and see what it’s like to be a Rebel and to actually feel the energy they all bring to the table.”
Rebels Head of Academy, Nic Henderson praised the hard work of the players and Academy Staff for their investment into these – and many other – players over many years.
“I’m extremely proud of all four boys, for taking that next step and being selected in the Rebels training squad. They’ve put in the hard work consistently through the Academy pathway and have been rightly rewarded. The boys follow in the footsteps of a number of Academy Alumni who have gone through to represent the Rebels and the Wallabies.”
“Hopefully they can build on this great opportunity and one day pull on the navy-blue jersey.”
“All the Academy staff have assisted the lads to get to this stage, but I’d like to make special mention to our Head of Athletic Performance, Brendan Whelan, who has done a fantastic job preparing the boys for the rigours of Super Rugby.”