NRC: Melbourne Rising team announced
Melbourne Rising

NRC: Melbourne Rising team announced

NRC: Melbourne Rising team announced

For their first game on Sunday the Melbourne Rising have name a team full of Super Rugby experience along with some Dewar Shield talent.

Coach Sean Hedger has chosen a conservative approach for his first game as NRC head coach, introducing only two players with no national experience in the Melbourne Rising team starting XV: Sefanaia Naivalu and Sione Taufa. Box Hill centre Naivalu is the top scorer of the Dewar Shield, a quick decision maker with an excellent boot, and Harlequin flanker Taufa is a solid player newlty crowned Dewar Shield champion on Sunday.

Rising's head coach Hedger with Stirzaker and Kamana

Rising’s head coach Hedger with Stirzaker and Kamana – photo Getty

All nine Dewar Shield clubs are represented in the squad through the allocation of Melbourne Rebels’ players to the local teams. An indication of how much the Rising franchise aspires to unite the Melbourne rugby fans under one banner.

The team will be captained by Rebels scrumhalf Nic Stirzaker, who spent last year’s post season in New Zealand playing for Manawatu Turbos in the ITM Cup. Along Stirzaker in the midfield Jack Debreczeni will start at flyhalf and Mitch Inman will be second receiver providing guidance to the debutant Naivalu.

The first row is a very powerful display with Toby Smith and Paul Alo-Emile on each side of hooker and vice-captain Pat Leafa.

In the second and third row Sam Jeffries and Cadeyrn Neville will bring their Super Rugby experience as well as  Luke Jones at inside flanker and Lopeti Timani at number eight.

In the back line new recruit Jonah Placid will play at full back, Telusa Veainu and Tom English will be the wingers.

The bench will display three more Rebles: Irish hooker Tom Sexton who was out all of Super Rugby season with a knee ligament reconstruction after an injury in the pre-season, prop Cruze Ah-Nau and scrumhalf Ben Meehan, who played last week Dewar Shield final with Box Hill. The rest of replacements is made up with local talent: Moorabbin prop Tuiatua Tuia, Harlequin’s Dewar Shield’s season MVP OJ Noa and Endeavour Hills’ backrower Reuben Rolleston, Harlequin’s centre and former Wallaby Lloyd Johansson and Moorabbin’s outside back Joe Kamana.

Rising’s first NRC match on Sunday 24th August at 2:00 PM at AAMI Park will be against Sydney powerhouseNorth Harbour Rays, reincarnation of sole ARC winners Central Coast Rays, a team formed by Manly, Warringah, Northern Suburbs and Gordon players.

Melbourne Rising Team:

15 Jonah Placid (Melbourne Rebels)
14 Telusa Veainu (Melbourne/Melbourne Rebels)
13 Sefanaia Naivalu (Box Hill)
12 Mitch Inman (Southern Districts/Melbourne Rebels) (Vice Captain)
11 Tom English (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
10 Jack Debreczeni (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels)
9 Nic Stirzaker (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels – Captain)
8 Lopeti Timani (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels)
7 Sione Taufa (Harlequin)
6 Luke Jones (Moorabbin/Melbourne Rebels)
5 Cadeyrn Neville (Foostcray/Melbourne Rebels)
4 Sam Jeffries (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)
3 Paul Alo-Emile (Power House/Melbourne Rebels)
2 Pat Leafa (Box Hill/Melbourne Rebels – Vice Captain)
1 Toby Smith (Melbourne Uni/Melbourne Rebels)

Reserves: 16 Tom Sexton (Power House/Melbourne Rebels); 17 Tuiatua Tuia (Moorabbin); 18 Cruze Ah-Nau (Footscray/Melbourne Rebels); 19 OJ Noa (Harlequin); 20 Reuben Rolleston (Endeavour Hills); 21 Ben Meehan (Endeavour Hills/Melbourne Rebels); 22 Lloyd Johansson (Harlequin); 23 Joe Kamana (Moorabbin)

  • Mart

    God damn I’m loving this comp already.

    How good! Usually there would be nothing on right now.

    When you see the teams it makes you realise how many quality players there are out there who would be twiddling they’re thumbs right now.

    It’s insanity to think this is the first year of this (apart from arc).

    If Inman and Johansson are on at the same time at some stage, that’s one hell of a wall to run through.

    Can’t wait for tonight’s game!!!!

    • hopefully we wil be able to recognise the two teams tonight, they have almost the same jumpers! :-)

    • Patrick


      I’m wondering if I can talk the wife into copping the sat – sun double-header. Maybe the afternoon without the kids will do it for her?

      • Mart

        Ha love it. I’ve just dropped the bombshell of Thursday night footy.
        Goodbye the Bachelor

  • Homer J

    How is that a mixture of club players? 13 of them are straight from the Rebels line up this year. That is almost as bad as the Sydney Uni Figjams!
    Not sure how some of the other teams can compete aginst a team that has been together all year and is fully professional.
    However, I can’t wait to see how the mighty Rays find a way to oversome all the evil spread across the competition and dominate once again!

    • Hi Homer, most of them have played several games in the Dewar Shield and are not regular in the Rebels’ line-up… anyhow given that Melbourne has only one team (as well as Perth and Canberra), this was expected

  • The King

    Jonah Placid at fullback… sigh

  • Boris

    I think you will find teams will be a lot stronger at home. This Rebels team is very strong but might not be like that all season. The Perth Spirit are resting most of the super rugby players for the interstate trips, but I guess they have traveled further than anyone else.

Melbourne Rising

Diego Ghirardi is a rugby fanatic from Italy, living in Melbourne. Played on the wing, now mainly couch flanker or sideline halfback. Enjoys writing in broken English, which should be read in a Franco Cozzo accent to render it more original. In case you understand Italian, you can read his banters on or better not

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