The Melbourne Rebels continue to strengthen their investment in homegrown talent, with towering lock, Josh Canham, re-signing with the Club.
The Victorian pathway product has re-committed to the Rebels on a new multi-year deal and will remain in Melbourne until at least the end of the 2025 Harvey Norman Super Rugby Pacific season.
The new deal will see the Rebels retain a key contributor to this year’s campaign.
In just his second season of Super Rugby action, Canham has displayed a commanding presence at the lineouts, ranking third overall for lineouts won and number six for total offloads.
It’s been a whirlwind twelve months for the Victorian prodigy, who originally began his rugby career at Brighton Grammar College and Harlequins Rugby Club, before winning Australian Under-20’s honours.
After making his debut against the Fijian Drua last year, Canham went on to play nine of the Rebels’ final 11 matches of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season, scoring his maiden try against the Blues at Eden Park.
The twenty-two-year-old has since backed up an impressive opening season by starting in all six matches he’s played this season, highlighted by a dominant performance against All-Blacks’ pair Scott Barrett and Sam Whitelock last Friday night.
Canham admitted that while there was overseas interest, leaving The Sporting Capital of Australia was never a serious option, especially when being part of such a connected culture.
“It’s an awesome result for myself and the Club,” said Canham.
“Growing up here, coming through the pathways and being a part of Victorian rugby, to now stay on for another couple of years is great. My family and friends are stoked, and I love the Club, so I’m really happy to stay.
“When I came here, I didn’t really know what to do with the lineout timings and I was just a tall skinny kid. Every year I’ve improved, and the coaches have played a huge role in that.”
Canham was one of two Rebels academy graduates to make their professional debuts last year, with Daniel Maiava joining him three weeks later.
With a wave of young homegrown Rebels coming through the ranks including Australia Under-20’s squad members Leafi Talataina and Patrick Lavemai, it shapes as an exciting time for Victorian rugby, something Canham is immensely proud to be a part of.
“Coming through the ranks and through all the academies is something I’m really proud of. It’s always a challenge to make it to this level and then stay here, so the opportunity I have now, playing at this Club with such a great group of teammates, it’s certainly something I don’t take for granted and something I’m really grateful for.”
Rebels GM of Rugby, Nick Stiles, said the Club was ecstatic to retain such a talented young player.
“It’s fantastic to have a young talented player like Josh Canham re-commit to our Club and want to remain part of this connected culture we’re continuing to build under the watch of Kevin Foote,” said Stiles.
“After an impressive maiden Super Rugby campaign, Josh has taken his game to another level this year, something the whole community and Club is immensely proud of, particularly Geoff Parling, who has done a fantastic job developing Josh, Daniel Maiava and Angelo Smith.
“Josh is part of that next generation of Burn Boys who have come through our pathway system, and have proven themselves on the Super Rugby stage, showing there is elite talent in Victoria and that our development systems are making a significant impact.”