The Melbourne Rebels have named their Match Day 23 for Friday night’s match against Australian archrivals, the Western Force.
The clash shapes as one of the most memorable home matches in Rebels history, with stalwart Reece Hodge set to break the Club’s record for the most Super Rugby appearances in a Rebels jersey, overtaking Tom English’s 98 Caps.
Melbourne Rebels Head Coach Kevin Foote has made six changes for the Round 14 clash, in what will be the home side’s final match at AAMI Park for 2023.
Star fly-half Carter Gordon returns for his 12th match of the season after overcoming a knee bruise, while milestone man Reece Hodge shifts to 12 after covering in Gordon’s absence last week.
Workhorse Josh Kemeny has also been recalled for his first match since Round 11, named alongside Captain Brad Wilkin and Richard Hardwick in the back row, while Vaiolini Ekuasi will provide valuable second-half impact.
Meanwhile rising hooker, Theo Fourie, has been named to make his Super Rugby debut.
After arriving at the Club in 2020, Fourie has worked closely under the guidance of capped internationals Jordan Ueelse and Rebels alumni James Hanson.
Speaking to the media earlier this week, Rebel Sam Talakai, said the players were focused on putting in a strong performance for their loyal fans and celebrating teammate Reece Hodge’s spectacular achievement.
“Last week was really tough for us, but we reviewed hard and we’re now focused on this week and being composed in the big moments and turning those tight losses into wins,” said Talakai.
“The Force present a really tough opposition for us, especially defensively, so for us we’ve got to narrow the focus and bring what we have to the last home game and put on a good performance for ourselves, our family and friends, and for our awesome members and supporters.
“It’s a big occasion for the Club with Hodgey reaching his milestone as well. Reece is a special part of this group and brings a wealth of experience. How he conducts himself day to day - he’s the ultimate professional and for us, we want to make the night extra special for him.”
The Melbourne Rebels will also be celebrating its first All Abilities Match on Friday Night, with the Game Day presentation filled with exciting activities that embrace the spirit of inclusivity.
The event aims to celebrate Rugby as truly a game for every body, promoting inclusivity, safety, and engagement within the Victorian Rugby community.
Lastly, to celebrate our Club's final home match of the season, there will be a host of entertainment for fans in attendance.
Patrons will have the opportunity to snap a pic with Vic the Rebel and take home a fun memory from the night inside Gate 2 from 6:30 pm.
That's not all - arrive early to catch all the pre-game action and make the most of the Burn City Light and Pyro show with DJ Cooper Smith. It's the perfect way to get pumped up before kick-off at 7:35pm.
Fans on the Field is also back, so grab a ball, bring the family and join us in celebrating Burn City's Best!
Embrace your inner Rebel and come join us for an unforgettable night of fun and excitement
Be there for the fun and witness Rebels history. Tickets on sale now.
Melbourne Rebels Match Day 23 vs Western Force
- Matt Gibbon
- Jordan Uelese
- Sam Talakai
- Josh Canham
- Matt Philip
- Josh Kemeny
- Brad Wilkin ( C )
- Richard Hardwick
- Ryan Louwrens
- Carter Gordon
- Monty Ioane
- Reece Hodge
- Lukas Ripley
- Lachlan Anderson
- Andrew Kellaway
- Theo Fourie
- Isaac Aedo Kailea
- Pone Fa'amausili
- Trevor Hosea
- Vaiolini Ekuasi
- James Tuttle
- Nick Jooste
- Joe Pincus