The Melbourne Rebels are excited to welcome back prop Sam Talakai, as the Club’s first new signing for the upcoming 2023 season.
The former Rebel has penned a two-year deal further bolstering Melbourne’s front row stocks, following the recent re-signings of Cabous Eloff, Jordan Uelese, Cameron Orr and Pone Fa’amausili.
Talakai has played 161 senior games across two countries and brings a wealth of experience and leadership to the Melbourne Rebels.
The thirty-year-old began his senior career as a key contributor for a dominant Sydney University program before heading north to play for National Rugby Championship side Brisbane City, under Head Coach Nick Stiles in 2014.
Talakai’s impressive form would soon lead to selection with the Queensland Reds, where he went on to play 40 matches over three years before travelling south and joining the Rebels for the 2018 season.
Over the next three seasons Talakai would make 31 appearances for the Rebels, playing a crucial role in the young Club’s development on and off the field.
After a successful stint with Suntory Sungoliath in Japan’s Rugby League One, Talakai says he’s excited to return to Melbourne and get to work with an emerging Rebels’ squad.
“I’ve been fortunate in my career to work with some incredible leaders like Giteau, Barrett, Kerevi, McKenzie and McMahon,” said Talakai.
“You see part of the game in a different light, so I’m more than happy to pass on what I’ve learned and experienced and believe it will only be beneficial for us moving forward.
“The pursuit of excellence in your role is what drives you daily, so for us to succeed, we’ve got to do it together and ultimately, we’ve got to show that through our actions.
“Seeing the emergence of our Club’s young guys really excites me, plus working closely with Nick Stiles, Kevin Foote and the entire coaching staff again.
“It felt right to come back, so I’m really excited to get back to Melbourne.
“The AAMI Park precinct has a special buzz to it, but first stop will be going back to my old local, Coe and Coe, for a toastie, coffee and some hoops - I can’t wait.”
Melbourne Rebels GM of Rugby, Nick Stiles, says he’s excited for Talakai to re-join the Rebels.
“It’s going to be great to welcome Sam back to the Rebels,” said Stiles.
“Sam brings great experience to our front row stocks, and is someone that’s highly regarded by our players, our staff and our fans.”