Melbourne Rebels scrumhalf, James Tuttle, says the Rebels will enter this week’s crucial clash against the Western Force full of confidence following a strong three-week block.
Melbourne will be chasing a second-straight victory on Friday night facing Australian rivals, the Western Force, at HBF Stadium – a ground where the Rebels have won two of their past three clashes.
The Rebels will enter the contest fresh off a week-long bye, something Tuttle believes has re-energised the playing group ahead of the second half of the season.
“The bye probably came at a good time for our Club,” said Tuttle.
“We started not how we planned to start, but we had a much-improved performance against the Waratahs in Sydney, before playing our perfect game plan for our Drua game.
“When you start strong, it brings in belief to the playing group and the energy really lifts.
We saw that every time we won a scrum penalty the boys were around each other; every time we scored a try the boys were around each other.
“It was great to perform the way we did so then we were able to celebrate together and enjoy the small wins on the field, which then again, boosts the energy.
“We’re excited, we’re confident, fresh and rejuvenated heading into the Force this week.”
Pairing with Matt To’omua at the halves in what was his first start in over twelve-months, Tuttle was one of the Rebels’ strongest performers during their exciting 15-point victory.
Following an excellent pre-season campaign, the twenty-five-year-old said he was grateful to be back doing his part in helping the Rebels win games of rugby, while also guiding the Club’s younger players through the rigorous demands of professional rugby.
“Yeah, it had been a while for me since that first COVID-year of Super Rugby AU.”
“I’ve just been biding my time and working hard at my game and trying to help the guys in the side as best as I can.
“The boys played perfectly, and we had a few of our younger boys step up. One of them made his debut, a young nineteen-year-old in Daniel Maiava, so it was even more special to have someone like him to make their debut at home, in a win.
“I couldn’t think of a better way for him to start his Super Rugby career.”
Maiava is the latest from a number of young stars to make their Super Rugby debut this year, after injuries hampered Melbourne’s opening month of the season.
Ever the optimist, Tuttle believed the blooding of the next generation so early into their careers will pay dividends down the road for the Rebels.
“It’s been great playing some of our younger guys earlier in the season to give them individual confidence and confidence in the group that they can come out and perform at a Super Rugby level.
“We’ve seen this from Josh Canham, Danie Maiaval, Tamati Ioane, who, in his first season, has been in a highlights package in every game, Josh Hill and Lukas Ripley who did well playing at 13.
“We’ve got guys coming through who have trained exceptionally hard through pre-season and they’ve been able to go out, trust their ability and perform, which has been a big positive.”
Tuttle’s impact reaches far beyond the playing field, with the Queenslander voted by his peers to be one of two internal performance leaders at the Rebels, alongside popular prop Cameron Orr.
Tuttle credited his childhood for valuing connection, mateship and placing others first – traits that are invaluable in a high-performance setting.
“It’s probably something I haven’t thought to alter or change too much.”
“It’s the way I am and the way I’ve been brought up, to look after your mates and care about them probably more than yourself.
“Helping others first is probably one of my core traits.
“It’s something that I’ve been brought up with and something that’s been ingrained in me. Finding joy in helping others and seeing them flourish is something that fills me with pride.”