The Melbourne Rebels have further strengthened their playing depth for next season with the key re-signings of experienced pair Cameron Orr and Stacey Ili.
Orr and Ili will now remain at the Stockade until at the least the end of the 2023 season.
The new deals will ensure the Rebels retain two important members from last season’s Super Rugby Pacific campaign, with the pair combining for 24 appearances, playing over 1200 minutes.
Melbourne Rebels GM of Rugby, Nick Stiles, said it was fantastic to retain two senior players to compliment Melbourne’s emerging youth.
“Cam and Stacey are two players with a wealth of top-level experience, both in Australia and overseas,” said Stiles.
“They’re two prominent figures in our match day squad and personality wise, are a great fit for the environment we’re building at the Rebels.
“From his first day at the Rebels, Cam has been one of our strongest communicators, always bringing high energy and positivity around the Club, while Stacey has impressed playing that crucial role for us at centre.
“These guys have also been instrumental in helping us develop the next generation coming through our squad, so we’re really pleased to have them returning to the Rebels next season”
Having arrived at the Rebels at the beginning of 2020, Orr quickly established himself as one of the most popular and well-respected figures at the Club.
After winning the Spirit of Weary Dunlop award in just his first season with the Rebels, the twenty-seven-year-old has gone on to make 35 appearances over three years in Melbourne, and looms as an important figure moving forward.
The prop said he was excited for what the future holds down at The Stockade.
“When offered the opportunity to extend my stay with the Melbourne Rebels I was certain it was the right decision for me,” said Orr.
“I’m confident and committed to what our team is building, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here over the last three seasons.
“Most importantly, I want to repay the coaches and wider staff who have put a lot of time and effort into my development.
“As we begin to prepare for next season, I want to do my part to support each and every member of this organisation to build sustained success for years to come.
“I’m determined to come back into pre-season in career best shape, so I can’t wait to get started.”
Stacey Ili first arrived in Melbourne in January 2021, making his Rebels’ debut shortly after in the Rebels’ Round 1 Super Rugby AU clash against the Queensland Reds.
Following a memorable maiden Super Rugby campaign – one which included a RUPA Newcomer of the Year nomination – Ili would go on to make his international debut for Samoa against Tonga, going on to play 5 matches to finish the year.
In 2022, Ili enjoyed a strong second season at the Rebels, making 9 starts from his 10 appearances, before being struck down by injury.
“A big part of me staying was that I felt I had unfinished business,” said Ili.
“Also, this is home for me and my little family, so it will be good to hang around for a little bit longer and continue to grow with this Club.
“Footey and the entire coaching staff have also put a lot of belief in me the last couple of seasons and the Club just has so much potential.
“I really want to be around when the switch is flicked and we deliver what we’re capable of, which will be really exciting for our members.”