The Melbourne Rebels are set to add two new names to their 173-player locker room wall when they do battle with the NSW Waratahs at Bankwest Stadium this Saturday night.
Carter Gordon and George Worth were included in Dave Wessels’ strong 23-man match day side following a strong body of work at the Rebels’ ICS Service Solutions High Performance Centre.
In what looms as a baptism of fire for both players, the Round 10 encounter will be one of the most dramatic Weary Dunlop clashes in recent memory, with the Rebels needing a victory to keep alive its hopes of clinching an impressive second consecutive finals berth.
For Carter Gordon, Saturday’s clash shapes as a life-long dream come true.
Widely regarded as one of the most exciting young playmakers in Australia, Gordon relocated to Melbourne late last year with his younger brother Mason, after spending 2020 gaining professional experience at the Queensland Reds.
A prestigious talent sporting an elite junior background with the Australian Schoolboys and the Under-20’s programs in 2018, Gordon said he’s excited for this weekend’s clash and can’t wait to rip in, should his name be called out.
“I’m very grateful to potentially make my debut in such an important game for our club,” said Gordon.
“Since joining the Melbourne Rebels, I’ve grown so much as a person and I know that’s transferring into my rugby.
“It’s been a lifelong goal of mine to play Super Rugby, so to possibly get on the field this week is very exciting for myself and my family, and I can’t wait to make an impact for the team by bringing a lot of energy and being another voice out on the field.”
For the English-born, Worth, Wednesday’s announcement capped a whirlwind two months.
The twenty-four-year-old arrived at The Stockade in February on-loan from English Premiership side the Leicester Tigers, where Worth made 62 appearances after making his senior debut in 2016.
Having dreamed about plying his craft in the Southern Hemisphere, Worth’s pipedream quickly turned into reality after an important conversation with Rebels’ forward coach, Geoff Parling, and 2020 Rebels’ Squad Member, Harry Potter.
“My Dad was actually born in Australia, which meant I was eligible for an Australian passport, so playing in Australia has always been in the back of my mind and testing myself in an entirely new competition,” said Worth.
“What I first heard about the Rebels was from Harry Potter, who I played with for a few months, and he spoke very highly of the Rebels.
“I then got in touch with Geoff Parling, who used to play at the same club I did, and he put me in touch with Dave Wessels and the rest is history.
As he prepares to fly out with his new teammates for a do-or-die clash against their fiercest rival, George said the move, though challenging, has been incredibly rewarding.
“I’ve learnt so much about myself since coming over.”
“Having an established reputation to now being at a brand-new club and having to earn the respect of the boys around you, you really need to get in, work hard and meet a lot of people, which has never been easy.
“But all of the boys have been really good at helping me settle in. I’ve loved my time with the club so far and really hope to put a good display out.”
Following a challenging past three weeks, the Rebels travel to Bankwest Stadium looking to claim a second-consecutive victory over their Weary Dunlop rivals, having won the previous encounter by 19-points back in Round 3.
With the experienced Ross Haylett-Petty, Cameron Orr, Brad Wilkin and Wallabies’ squad member, Isi Naisarani, returning to the Rebels’ Starting XV, Worth says the playing group will enter this weekend’s clash determined on making the Victorian community proud of their efforts come Saturday.
“Morale is really high - we’ve taken learnings from last week and the week’s gone by, so we’re raring to go for ourselves and our supporters.”
“We see this week as our quarter final, so if we win this one, we’re through to a semi, and then win that and we’re into a grand final.
“Everyone’s locked in and raring to go for Saturday night.”
The Melbourne Rebels play the NSW Waratahs at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday, April 24 at 8:00 pm. The match can be seen live on 9Gem and Stan Sports AU.