Shaw and Partners Rebels Under-18’s Head Coach, Cliff Viliamu, has named his Match Day 23 for the Rebels’ opening match of the 2022 Academy season against the Western Force.
The next generation of Melbourne Rebels stars will play their first Academy match on Victorian soil in almost 36 months, hosting two blockbusters over three days, beginning with tomorrow night’s clash against the Force at Wyndham Rugby Club.
The Rebels then quickly turn their attention to Sunday afternoon for a battle with the Queensland Reds at Harlequin Rugby Club.
Following six-months of intense training at Rebels HQ, Viliamu says his players are raring to go for the unique opening round challenge.
“Our preparation has been tough,” said Viliamu.
“We’ve always known about the demands of the opening week and going to battle against three elite programs over ten days, so we’ve tried to mimic that through training over the last three months, focusing on load and being resilient.
“Resilience is the biggest thing – you’ll never be playing completely at one hundred percent, but if your mindset is strong, your body will follow, and that’s the approach we’re taking over the next couple of days.
“It’s also our first game in Melbourne in three years, so it’s exciting for our group to be able to play in front of family and friends, and we want to make sure we give it our absolute all.
The first-year Head Academy coach says his side will enter tomorrow’s opener prepared for several different scenarios, with playing conditions looming as a major factor on Friday night.
“Conditions will obviously play a big part, playing under lights and in wet conditions here in Melbourne, that will influence our planning.”
“Queensland will be more open running but overall, we’ll look to play a more structured, direct approach in regard to the skill set we’ve got with our squad, so that’s how we’ll look to attack these two opening games.”
Shaw and Partners Rebels Under-18 Academy Match Day 23
1. Martin Vaega ,Wyndham Rhinos Rugby Club
2. Ottavio Tu’ipulotu (C), St Kevin’s College / Harlequins Rugby Club
3. Iverson Tolai Tato, Wyndham Rhinos Rugby Club
4. Liam Rogerson, Elwood College/Melbourne Rugby Club
5. Owen Rice, Harlequins Rugby Club
6. Darcy Keating, Moorabbin Rugby Club
7. Wyatt Ballenger, Marcelin College/ Moorabbin Rugby Club
8. Leafi Talataina, Endeavour Hills Rugby Club
9. Vaiala Junior Kilisi, Endeavour Hills Rugby Club
10. Brodie Hugh, Lara Secondary College/ Geelong Rams Rugby Club
11. Will Toohey, Haileybury College / Melbourne Rugby Club
12. Jozef Ah Kuoi, Fountain Gate College /Harlequins Rugby Club
13. Steven Ngata, Wyndham Rhinos Rugby Club
14. Pio Junior Mauga, Tarneit College/Melbourne Rugby Club
15. Hugo Peel, St Kevin's College /Harlequins Rugby Club
16. Jamaine Sialau, Toowoomba Grammar/Harlequins Rugby Club
17. Spencer Ioelu, Fountain Gate College /Endeavour Hills Rugby Club
18. Paul Aiolupotea, Footscray Rugby Club
19. Xavier Treacy, St Kevin's College /Harlequins Rugby Club
20. Zedrack Tuionetoa, Wyndham Rhinos Rugby Club
21. Kingston Makua-Pori, Wyndham Rhinos Rugby Club
22. Hoia Wallace, Wyndham Rhinos Rugby Club
23. Adam Tuisi, Fountain Gate College /Harlequins Rugby Club