Melbourne Rebels win at home against resilient Reds - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rebels

Melbourne Rebels win at home against resilient Reds

Melbourne Rebels win at home against resilient Reds

The Melbourne Rebels maintained their position at the top of the Australian conference with a hard earned win against a resiliant Queensland Reds team that refused to give up on a cold, wet, and windy night in Melbourne.

Earlier in the season it looked as though the Rebels would comfortably win the conference but three consecutive losses have opened the door for the Reds or Brumbies to sneak past. The Reds had won five of their last seven games and would have believed they could make it three in a row with a win at AAMI park.


The Rebels showed their intent right from the kick off, running the ball from well inside their own half, before a well placed kick from Will Genia found touch ten metres from the try line. A knock on from Anaru Rangi caused the first scrum set of the match. A powerful Reds scrum earned a penalty with a subsequent penalty for offside leading to the first points of the night to Bryce Hegarty.

A moment or two later the Rebels come close to opening their account. Under penalty advantage Quade Cooper put through a well weighted grubber kick grounded by Dane Haylett-Petty. A video review however showed a slight knock-on from Reece Hodge.

At around the 15 minute mark, Tate McDermott put up a high box kick. Samu Kerevi clattered into Genia in the air giving referee Angus Gardiner no choice but to show Kerevi a yellow card. The Rebels made the Reds pay for their ill discipline almost immediately. The Rebels came close to scoring from a driving maul before Quade Cooper found Marika Koroibete who crashed straight through the attempted tackle of both Sefa Naivalu and Hamish Stewart. Stewart was injured in the tackle attempt and had to leave the field, replaced by Isaac Lucas. Cooper made no mistake with the conversion to give the Rebels the lead 7-3.

The Reds soon added another three points with a second penalty goal to Hegarty for an offside offense. 7-6 to the Rebels as Kerevi returned from the sin bin.

At thirty one minutes the Rebels crossed the chalk again with Anaru Rangi crashing over from a maul. The score came from an attempted clearing kick from McDermott that cannoned into the back of Alex Mafi’s head creating an accidental offside. A series of infringements from the Reds saw Gardiner finally issue a warning. The Reds defense, now on their best behaviour, were unable to stop the maul. Cooper again converted the take the score out to 14-6.

It didn’t take long for the Reds to hit back. Hegarty found Lucas on his outside who managed to brush off a Luke Jones tackle before passing to Taniela Tupou. Tupou returned the ball to Lucas with a pass that may have been marginally forward. Nevertheless, Lucas dotted down for his first try in Super Rugby. Hegarty’s conversion missed leaving the score at 14-11.

The Rebels attempted another driving maul from a lineout but, with time up on the clock, Scott Higginbotham illegally pulled the maul down and was punished with a yellow card for repeated team infringements. The Rebels managed to butcher the resultant lineout with a poor throw to end the first half.


It took less than four minutes for the Rebels to score again with the try of the night. From a midfield scrum, Billy Meakes put Reece Hodge through a gap with a lovely short pass. Hodge looked as though he would score himself but was brought down by a good tackle from Jock Campbell. Hodge passed from the deck to Gus Cotterell who offloaded to Genia, Genia found Tetera Faulkner running a nice line down the left wing to score in the corner. Cooper’s conversion attempt curved left, then right, then bounced off the cross bar for a miss. 19-11 to the Rebels against the 14 man Reds.

Five minutes later the Rebels were in again. This time with a try to Dane Haylett-Petty following a series of passes that created a gap for Hodge to get some space and pass the ball back inside for Haylett-Petty to finish. Cooper’s conversion was unsuccessful but the Rebels were out to a 13 point lead. Cooper would not stay on the field much longer, receiving a knee to the head attempting to lay a tackle on Samu Kerevi. He looked quite groggy and failed his Head Injury Assessment.

The Reds, now back to a full contingent, kept hanging in despite being well behind in both territory and possession. A down-field penalty against Rangi for a mistimed tackle lead to a try to replacement prop, Harry Hoopert from the back of a maul. Hegarty had no trouble with the conversion and closed the score to 24-18.

Another penalty against the Reds with the Rebels hot on attack brought another warning from Gardiner. Hodge added three points to increase the Rebels lead to nine points.

In the next 15 minutes each team scored another penalty goal with successful kicks from Hegarty and Hodge.

The Reds earned a further scrum penalty with time up and elected to take the points and earn a bonus point. Final score: Rebels 30, Reds 24.


The Melbourne Rebels would be pleased to get the win and break a losing streak of three games. They showed some very good rugby in patches but would be disappointed with the number of missed opportunities and should have probably won by a greater margin. As in their earlier season match they were successful in containing Samu Kerevi’s influence which played a big part in the win.

The Reds would again be cursing their poor discipline, they have now given up 11 yellow cards for the season. They know how to grind and keep playing for the full eighty minutes but lack creativity. Their wingers must be thinking that they should bring their knitting to keep busy. The ball rarely gets wider than their centres.


The Rebels are at home again next week against the Bulls. Following that, they travel to Tokyo to play the Sunwolves, host the Warratahs, have an away game against the Crusaders and play the Chiefs at home to finish the season.

The Reds have the Warratahs at home, Chiefs away, the Jaguares and the Blues at home, and wind up their season against the Brumbies in Canberra.

The Game Changer

Taniela Tupou came close to scoring a try but was held up over the line, giving the Reds a 5 metre scrum in front of the posts.

A try would have closed the gap to just two points but the Rebels pack put in a huge scrum and earned a clearing penalty to relieve the pressure.


Dane Haylett-Petty played one of his best games for the Rebels and certainly put his hand up for the vacant Wallabies full back position.

He ran for over 130 metres from ten runs, kicked beautifully for touch and gained over 100 metres with his field kicking to go with his six defenders beaten and a try.

Wallaby Watch

Izack Rodda carried well and put a lot of pressure on the Rebels lineout. Taniela Tupou looks to be getting back to his best form. Sefa Naivalu hardly touched the ball. Samu Kerevi was well contained and was caught out of position defensively on a couple of occasions.

A number of the Rebels Wallaby hopefuls including Luke Jones, Isi Naisarani, Reece Hodge, Billy Meakes, and Quade Cooper would have done their chances no harm.

The Details

Scores and Scorers

Trys: M. Koroibete 18″, A. Rangi 32″, T. Faulkner 45″, D. Haylett-Petty 51″
Conversions: Q. Cooper – 2
Penalties: R. Hodge – 2

REDS – 24
Trys: I. Lucas 38″, H. Hoopert 56″
Conversions: B. Hegarty – 1
Penalties: B. Hegarty – 4

Cards and Citations

Yellow Cards: S. Kerevi, S. Higginbotham


  • IIPA

    Actually thought Philip was the pick of the forwards. The guy has great hands and seems to never have a negative carry. RHP, Naisrani and Cottrell not far behind.

    Jones I think has been a little underwhelming last few weeks. Still ok, high work-rate and effective in the lineout. Just not quite the messiah at 6.

    Centre pairing for the Wallabies could well come down to Meakes/Hodge or Kerevi/Kuridrani. The latter looks better on paper, the former might have a few more strings to their bow. Meakes is an outright pest ( in a good way ) at the breakdown.

    Another understated but alright performance from Cooper. I thought more bad luck than bad technique on the tackle.

    Like the look of Lucas, Campbell and Blyth for the Reds. Blyth must be massive, seemed to be half a head taller than Rodda when packing scrums.

    • Keith Butler

      With Coleman going I wouldn’t complain if Phillip and RHP were our lock pairing. Jones went ok but I thought that Naisarani was at times coasting. Hodge put in a decent shift at 13 but i’m not convinced with him at 10. We need a specialist at 10 not a jack of all trades.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Hodge is good I’m every position, but not the best in any.

        Kerevi clearly our best player and 12, while TK is our best 13.

        • Keith Butler

          True. Five more games to go. It would be handy to have Matt Toomua back from Leicester for the run into take some of the load off QC. The Tigers last game is on 18 May. Probably not enough time to learn the moves etc.

        • Kevino

          Presser Dave said he arrives in a week

  • Gun

    Billy Meakes is a solid footballer. Has a football brain and solid in all skill sets. Much underated I reckon. Willy, Quade, Meakes, Kurindrani/Kerevi?


      Well he’s definitely winning me over as the season goes on! Still not quite sure he’s test quality yet…. but not all centres have to be mind-blowing. ALB is arguably Nzs best centre so far this season but most wouldn’t know it till they check the stats…..


    Found it interesting the Fox commentators were quite biased to the Reds getting up in that game! Only Clarke kept it neutral.
    Also find it a little ironic that Quade adapting away from the Quade/Barret upright tackling technique that most despise, has now left him concussed and now joins a decade long list of 10s potentially monitoring concussion!
    Awesome to see DHP back into some form too….
    And that Thor pass to Lucas was 100% a forward pass. Take that nontry into account, aswell as the bombed try Cooper set up(quite a mountain of bombed tries building up that Cooper has set up this year) and you have a flattering scoreline with 1Reds try to 5or 6 Rebels tries! That is a very worrying sign for the Reds. They need a “playmaker” bad!

    • Kevino

      My highlight of the night has to be Cooper stripping Kerevi in a tackle in the first half.

      Cooper made 8 tackles last night, the most of any Rebels backs, and was front line defending not hiding in the back field.

    • Adrian

      They have one in Hegarty Reds, but the tactic is to no do any playmaking

      • GO THE Q REDS

        Can’t totally agree with that. The Reds have not prevented Hegarty running the play yet this season…. He consistently sends it 2out almost every play! In comparison the Rebels last 3 games have had Genia and Quade sending it consistently back into the forwards. It has barely gone to the centres or wider in general posession play. Clearly a coaches game plan at the Rebels recently but no way have the Reds been running consistent tight forwards play….

        • idiot savant

          I think the point is that Hegarty doesn’t call for it or take 1st receiver position as much as other flyhallfs. He lets McDermott feed the pods and if its in the 22, both halves let the forwards pick and go. I think the Reds lead the comp in pick and go stats. So its a forwards led game plan.Hegarty tends to call for it in mid field positions to distribute or kick in his 22.

          I agree Wessells and Cooper are playing a round the corner style where Cooper often feeds the forwards, a bit fo a variation on the Irish play with Sexton.

        • GO THE Q REDS

          Yeah sort ofagree because Hegarty has a very high touch rate for 10s…one of the comps highest….. but my point is I feel Hegarty is more of a distributor than a playmaker, and the stats kinda show that too. Problem is with a distributor 10 you need a backline full of Kerevi’s. Reds need a playmaker 10 to make up for the lack of punch that backline has!

      • GO THE Q REDS

        So I checked the season stats(which I understand don’t say everything as teammates and coaches plans can heavily effect a player’s stats and performances) but… As far as being a playmaker, Hegarty has a very high possession count similar to Quades in fact, yet Hegarty kicks alot more,runs more and the stats tend to show with things like his lack try assists and offloads that he’s generally a distributor…..not so much a playmaker. He’s definitely had his moments this season tho!

  • Brisneyland Local

    Afternoon GAGR’s. Well wasn’t that an interesting match. Congrats to the Johnny Rebs, a well deserved victory. To the Reds I am sure they will be rueing their ill discipline. Random thoughts whilst stirring up a batch of Martini’s! Yum!
    – First of all Angus ‘The Card’ Gardner. To b honest I thought he had a pretty good game. Both of those cards were legitimate YC’s. No question about them. Higger’s one was well due as they had just received a warning less than 4 mins before. No player could be in any doubt were they stood. His communication is clear. A little snotty but very clear.
    – The Rebs were playing good flat ball. A few handling errors that they will need to work on, and a couple of timing issues but overall reasonable.
    – The Reds poor discipline cost them poorly. Their game plan of Plan A – Give it to Kervi, and Plan B throw it around for a bit then give it to Kerevi, only works 50% of the time. And whilst there is no doubt that Kerevi is bloody brilliant and the starting 12 for the Wallas. He cant do everything for the Reds.
    – The Reds scrum looked good for the first 15 then the Rebs started to gain some good scrum dominance.
    – Sama Sama for the lineout.
    – QC looked pretty good until the head knock which was not so much poor technique just more got caught out of position. But bugger me that would have hurt. The Rebs looked a little rudderless after he went off.
    – DHP had a pearler, and I agree was probably the MOM. Not bad for 2(?) games back.
    – Tongan Thor showed he has some deft hands, and made some good runs.
    Over to you GAGR’s!

    • Who?

      Did you see Tupou’s interview on Fox Sports after the game? They’ve got it on their website if you missed it – worth the watch!

      • Bernie Chan

        Seems a likeable young man. A prop with cake, what do you think would be the priority….eat or chat…

      • Brisneyland Local

        YEah I saw it. It is hilarious. You would want that guy in your team for the humour value alone.

  • Adrian

    I think Reds have a good playmaker (Hegarty), but poor backline tactics… which is a coaching thing.

    Giving it to Kerevi works, but works less and less well as defences adjust.

    I think Naivalu coming in from the wing and taking it off Hegarty, or inside from Kerevi, but angling out would work. It isn’t that complicated. I think Duaganu could do similar when he is fit, and do it from fullback, where he has played occasionally as I remember it.

    Stewart, Lucas and Co are good, but the Reds need a dose of speed. Petaia will help too…if he manages to get the ball

  • Adrian

    Though I have no proof, I suspect that all is not well in the relationship between Lukhan S-Lotto and the coach.

    He has been killing it all year ,but was hooked last week after a quiet 50, then dropped to the bench this week. He didn’t look very dominant when he came on.


      He was the only bench player not smiling aswell. He didn’t look happy at all…..
      When he was pulled last week he was visibly confused if you remember too…

      • Adrian


    • Bernie Chan

      Another player being poorly “managed” by BT? If I were another Oz franchise, I’d snap him up ASAP…

      • Adrian

        Absolutely Bernie. And I hope they do,… otherwise he’ll be OS too

        • Bernie Chan

          We’re in a deep funk aren’t we…so many players who are approaching their prime rugby years choosing to head OS…

        • Who?

          Indeed. Given Coleman’s off to London Irish (with Keps, Phipps, Rona, Naholo), the Rebels might like him…
          And of course the Tahs would love to have another ‘real’ lock, and a Lismore lad at that.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Adrian, have posted this on an old post so it is not in current traffic. I am organising a GAGR’s get together at the Wallabies Vs Argentina game at Suncorp. Hoss, KRL, Keith Butler and Nutta, and respective wives and partners are attending too. If you are interested in joining us, please message me back, and I will shoot you the email address to contact me and send you through the arrangements. Regards BL

        • Adrian

          Many, many thanks for the invite BL.

          Unfortunately I can’t make it.

          This game has a bit of background to it, and I hope Lukhan S-Lotto plays,…as I think he should based on form to date.

          It will be the first game under the new 3 selector regime.

          What is of interest to me is not so much the team (though it is of interest), but whether or not the tactic match the team.

          You guys will have a great time discussing this and all other related issues as part of a hopefully big crowd.

          I’ll be thinking of you as I watch!

        • Brisneyland Local

          I think with HOss there we will pissed as newts!

  • Brisneyland Local

    GTQR. That is pure gold! Tip of the hat!

  • Gipetto

    It’s so sporting of the Reds organisation to pay Cooper to play for their opponents.

  • idiot savant

    Nice write up Mr Wobbly. Unless I’m missing some word play here resilient has an ‘e’. You’re welcome.

    • Mr Wobbly

      Edited. Thanks I.S.

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