Momentum continues to build at The Stockade, as the Rebels charge through week two of pre-season training.
Players have been pushed to their physical limits, with intense conditioning sessions under the watchful eye of Kevin Foote and his coaching staff.
Melbourne Rebels’ GM of Rugby, Nick Stiles, says it’s been a promising start to what is the club’s twelfth pre-season campaign.
“It’s just fantastic to have rugby back,” said Stiles.
“It’s only October, but’s it’s so exciting to see all the hard come together out on the training track.”
The former Wallabies’ prop credited the outstanding leadership from several of the club’s more experienced players for raising the intensity early, exposing the squad’s younger players to the trying demands of professional rugby and fast-tracking their overall development.
“One of the things that I’ve previously mentioned, is that I’m really excited by the good blend we have in our squad at the moment.
“We’ve got some really seasoned footballers training and leading from the front – Cam Orr, Michael Wells, Joe Powell, James Hanson – guys with a great amount of experience, so just to be able to have them spend quality time with those new team members is incredibly valuable.”
Among the fresh faces is strapping Queenslander Lukas Ripley and Olympian Joe Pincus, who, along with returning Wallabies’ Under-20’s star, Josh Canham, have all quickly impressed with their professionalism, coachability and resilience under extreme discomfort.
“Overall, I’ve been really impressed with the new players we’ve brough into our squad.”
“Lukas Ripley in particular, who came in off the back of the grand final success in Queensland.
“Joe Pincus is another one who’s been impressive so far with that experience he got in the Olympics, along with Josh Canham, who was with us last year and is someone who is a really exciting second rower.
“He got some experience playing club rugby this year and it looks like it’s going to really help him progress forward with the Rebels.”
Melbourne’s sole Super Rugby club will round out the year training at MSAC before relocating back to its spiritual home, Olympic Park, in early January.
While it’s true - there’s no place like home, Stiles said the club was grateful for its access to the world-class facilities.
“We’re very lucky to be able to come here and train at the MSAC facilities and have a high-performance environment that allows us to run the program that we want.
“It’s crucial to our preparation for next season. and the boys are very appreciative of it.”
Despite 137 days remaining until Super Rugby Pacific’s opening kick-off, anticipation continues to grow, with the club’s fixtures and squad set to be announced within the coming weeks.
“Even though it’s only October, we’re already starting to generate that excitement around the competition, so to receive those fixtures is exciting.”
“Melbourne fans have been deprived of rugby for a long time now, so the excitement we can generate with the draw, giving fans something to look forward to in the New Year once we come out from lockdown, will really drive the interest amongst the Rebels’ faithful out there.
“A lot of thought has been put into our squad over the last twelve to eighteen months about building cohesion in the group and developing our systems.
“This will be crucial with our new coaching staff of Kevin Foote, Ryan Martin - who’s about to join us and drive our new attacking style of play - and Geoff Parling, who’s been such a workhorse for us and someone who’s produced the goods with our forwards.
“Once we get that whole mix together with the new squad, we’re really going to go out there and provide a style of play the fans are going to be very proud of.”
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