Rebels coach Kevin Foote is out to establish a 'fast and fearless' style of Rugby as they look to push for the finals in 2023.
The Rebels missed the finals in 2022 on bonus points after a slow start, finishing their year with a narrow win over the Highlanders at AAMI Park.
The club have reinforced their roster, signing exciting Italian winger Monty Ioane and Wallabies debutant Sam Talakai amongst a host of experienced figures.
This has Foote excited about the future, expressing his plans for the squad during the first episode of 'Rebel Within', a behind-the-scenes content series that follows the club's off-field and inner sanctum moments in our Club's 2023 season.
“I’m super pumped about the squad. Nick Stiles has done an excellent job with recruiting some older players back to the club and that’s going to be crucial as we go through our build stage," Foote said.
“We want to get the right people on board to support our youngsters through and encourage the guys who have come on a one or two-year journey to keep growing, guys like Anaru Rangi, Ryan Louwrens, Alex Mafi. In the same space, seeing guys like Glen Vaihu, Lukas Riley, Brad Wilkin; guys who have played in the Rebels jersey go to the next level is exciting.
“I’m super excited for all the work people have done to get them back because they are good Melbourne people. The brand of Rugby we want to build and play, they’re going to be crucial for that on and off the field.”
Foote also detailed the style of Rugby he wants the team to play in the future, looking to utilise the plethora of Wallabies at his disposal.
“The simple way to say it is if you are on the sidelines and watching the Rebels play, what are the words or actions you’d think about?” Foote pondered.
“When we say ‘fast’, we’re not necessarily saying running fast, we’re talking about speed of thought and skill. Growing up watching Super Rugby for years, the speed of the game is so unique, we play in summer months where the weather is nice and it's awesome for crowds so playing fast and fearless goes hand in hand.
“We need to be brave enough to say we’ve got that skill to kick the ball across field, run it from anywhere on the field so a fast and fearless brand of Rugby is really important for us.”
A central pillar of Foote's culture has always revolved around building 'love' between players, coaches and fans.
As the team returns to pre-season, the former Perth Spirit boos is looking to foster this relationship into better performances on the field.
“We know it’s going to be tough," he added. "I wanted them to go spend time with their family and physically and mentally refresh and understand we need to be at a certain level where we are not peaking but where we can start to grow our game.
“The guys have come back and tested really well, they’re stronger and fitter. The medical staff have done really well but we want to build that resilience so we’re putting ourselves in uncomfortable environments that are going to stretch them because I want to see under pressure how they talk to each other and look after each other.
“When you love someone, that person means so much to them and you’re then prepared to do amazing things for them, put your body in harm's way or protect them, go the extra length for them on the Rugby field.”