Rebels Dominate Sharks - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rebels

Rebels Dominate Sharks

Rebels Dominate Sharks

After disappointing losses in the previous round, both the Melbourne Rebels and Sharks were looking to get their Super Rugby campaigns back on track in this round 6 clash at AAMI Park, Melbourne.

The Match

The Sharks from Durban, South Africa, came into this match having lost to the Brumbies in Canberra a week ago, while in the same round the Rebels came unstuck to the Waratahs in stifling conditions in Sydney. The Sharks had a 6-day turnaround, one more than the Rebels, who only had 5

First half

From the Sharks’ kick-off the Rebels were in control early with Billy Meakes making the most of his first start for his new side with a nice run into the visitor’s 22. A resulting penalty kick to the home side gave the Rebels first points as well as making Reece Hodge the Rebels’ highest ever point scorer since Jason Woodward. Possession and territory were very much in favour of the Rebels in the opening minutes. A rolling maul off a penalty gave the Rebels their first try of the night and first try for hooker, Anaru Rangi in the 11th minute.

A deliberate knock-down by Sharks’ fullback, Curwin Bosch 18 minutes in, gave the home side a one-man advantage, however they were not able to capitalise with the Rebels not adding to their tally. It would be the Sharks who would score next via a try to winger Lwazi Mvovo. Just prior to half-time, another rolling maul off a penalty gave Amanaki Mafi a try, though it was initially credited to Anaru Rangi.

Both teams headed off to the sheds for oranges with the Rebels leading 15 points to 7.

Anaru Rangi

Anaru Rangi celebrates scoring his second try… that was eventually credited to Amanaki Mafi

Second half

The Rebels would have been disappointed in a way with how the first half went, considering their dominance, which is probably why they came out with all guns a-blazin’. First points went to the Rebels via a penalty kick to Jack Debreczeni. Will Genia got his first try in the five-star, with a nice run off the back of a ruck. Billy Meakes impressed in his first Rebels start and picked up 5 points via a well-worked team try. The other Haylett-Petty (Ross), picked up a try off a nice break by local boy, Fereti Sa’aga, who had only recently come off the bench.

With less than 10 minutes left on the clock, the Sharks managed to camp down in the Rebels’ half and after Jack Maddocks was sent off for a deliberate knock-down the visitors had a one-man advantage, which they benefited from with a try to Marius Louw. Not to be outdone, the Rebels had the final word with a try on fulltime to reserve prop Fereti Sa’aga, with Jack Debreczeni converting to make the final score 46-14 to the Melbourne Rebels, another bonus-point win. This is the Rebels’ highest number of points scored in a match and the highest winning margin.

Amanaki Mafi

“It’s only a flesh wound!” Amanaki Mafi receives some running repairs

The wrap-up

The Rebels will be pleased with the turnaround this week. In their 5 games so far this season the Rebels have scored 28 tries. In their entire season last year they only scored 23, so you get an idea of how far they have come.

The Sharks found themselves at the end of a resurgent Melbourne side, making amends for their loss to the Waratahs in the previous round. It has not been a good start to the Sharks’ Australia / New Zealand tour, having gone down to the Brumbies last week. Their assignment only gets harder.

Meanwhile, the Rebels have a week until they face their hardest test to date when they take on the Hurricanes from Wellington at home at AAMI Park. On Good Friday (let’s hope it is) – the first Aussie team to take on a Kiwi team this season. Have we really improved? We shall see.

Fereti Sa’aga

 Fereti  Sa’aga celebrates his first Super Rugby try 

The game changer

Really, when you think about it, the Rebels were always in control, save for some flat patches in the first half and they probably left several points out there in the first 40. However, it was in the second half where the men from Melbourne put their collective feet on the gas. The Sharks were just never really in it.


A lot of players stood up tonight including Colby Fainga’a, Jack Debreczeni and Billy Meakes (in his first start for the Rebels) all having solid games, but for his strong work all over the park, including his first Rebels five-pointer, the award goes to Anaru Rangi.

Wallaby Watch

The usual Wallabies squad players availed themselves well, with fringe training squad member, Jack Maddocks showing his versatility in dropping back to fullback, replacing Dane Haylett-Petty, who is out with a head-knock. Maddocks continues to shine and it may not be long until we see him in the green and gold.


Score & Scorers

Rebels  46  (15)
Tries: Rangi, Mafi, Genia, Meakes, R Haylett-Petty, Saaga
Conversions: Hodge, Debreczeni 4
Penalties: Hodge, Debreczeni

Sharks  14  (7)
Tries: Mvovo, Louw
Conversions: Du Preez, Bosch
Penalties: Nil

Cards & Citings

18” Bosch – deliberate knockdown

71” Maddocks – deliberate knockdown

  • Gun

    Great game from the Rebs. You get the impress old mate Canno is no fan of them. Understandable I guess.

  • Mr Wobbly

    One thing I liked (apart from the score) was the various way the trys were scored. A couple of trys from mauls, a couple from broken play and a couple of good team trys. Nice.

  • Hoss

    Good afternoon team,

    Alot to like re the Rebs, its not just the victories, its the ability / desire to put teams to the sword for the full 80.

    Their’e an indefatible quality in the Oz Conference at present (mostly) and it reminds me of my 68 Mustang (viagra on wheels) – its ‘soul’ and its been missing from our sides since 2014.

    We arent the fastest, most skilled, or best game plans, but its desire, belief, grit, mongrel – its equal measures of alot of one-percenters – that will enable us to make up shortfalls in skill, gameplans etc and maybe, just maybe a contender or two from our conference.

    Like the Stang, this ‘soul’ is giving me a stirring in the loins and its good, strange, long missing, but good.

    • Brisneyland Local

      MAte I always knew you were a man of class. I owned a ’67 Two door hardtop! Bought it from a Pimp in Jacksonville North Carolina! Sweet ride.

      • Hoss

        I am the big 5 & 0 later this year mate, so was hell bent on a 68 (289 3 speed & LH Drive). Had been chipping away at the minister with hints and outright statements (all met with stony silence) – i ended up figuring its esier to ask for forgiveness than permission…….

        • Brisneyland Local

          A good buy mate. I bought mine in the US when on a posting over there with the Army. I bought it back with me and restored her to her former glory. 289, with a four speed top loader, and a 9 inch diff (not standard). But had to sell her when I moved overseas again.
          No I collect motorcycles. Lots of them! ;-)

  • Who?

    Great game, and, because I’m one who always watches them, I’ve gotta note the ref’s performance. He had a great night! Loved the way he didn’t listen to the TMO agitating for a YC for Mvovo for the aerial challenge on Genia. Had a great feel for the game, technically (generally) correct, and even handed. Why can’t all games be refereed as well?!

    • Huw Tindall

      Yes that was a great call
      Mvovo never took his eyes off the ball and was a legitimate chance to catch it. A fairer challenge you shall not find. My question was – why even a penalty?

      • Who?

        The way it’s been reffed for a few years now, if you’re not the first/top jumper, you’re putting yourself in a position to give away a penalty. Genia was pretty clearly ‘up’ first (especially given he’s shorter and got higher). So whilst I wouldn’t have had an issue with no penalty, blowing the penalty was consistent with all other refs’ minimum call (some would’ve YC’d for it).

        • Huw Tindall

          What’s the penalty for? Taking out the player in the air? If so they are essentially saying you aren’t allowed to compete in the air which is a bit disappointing.

        • Who?

          Exactly. Taking out the player in the air. What they’re saying is that, if it’s not an even contest (in terms of height of jump and timing of jump), then you’re liable to be penalized. There are plenty in the NH who hate Kieran Read’s style of challenge – such as in the Lions series leading to Poite’s decision reversal – as they don’t believe it’s a fair contest. Read uses his height and pace to get up equally as high as the lifted jumper (so it’s considered a fair contest by the referees), but they contend his forward momentum is a potential cause of major carnage, as even if he misses the ball, he’s going to crash into the other jumper and is likely to cause injury.
          The same is also claimed (to a lesser extent) about Folau doing the same.
          The only ‘fair’ contest they want to allow is one where both players are the same height off the ground, and not likely to knock each other too far sideways or off balance, allowing them to return to the ground safely.
          I completely understand the frustration with it, but I’m also aware of the safety concerns. Is it right? For me, it depends on the contest and day – so I’m probably not the one to make the final call! But I do think the ref last night wasn’t outside current refereeing standards in his call, hence my happiness that he didn’t overreact by pulling the YC, and also my understanding of the penalty (even though I agree, it was a fair contest, and we shouldn’t be removing this from the game).
          I did also really appreciate the gestures of sportsmanship between Genia and Mvovo – Mvovo being really certain that Genia was ok and wasn’t grumpy about it, and Genia’s clear body language showing he understood it was just a collision, in an attempt for the ball, and there was nothing malicious about it.

      • onlinesideline

        listened to that podcast the other day of Jeremy Paul Huw. Personally I have mixed feelings about what he said. TBH it sounds like he had a drinking problem and his argument that drink is a must to glue the team – well all drink lovers say that dont they ? – Cant imagine David Wilson or George Gregan or John Eales would agree. Just found it all a bit cheap sounding. Amazed that Rod Macqueen would let drunk and nude at hotel door slide – never would have picked that. Anyway seems Links short spell brought this drinking issue to the fore. I wonder where Brad Thorn and other ABs lie on this in 2018 ?

        • Huw Tindall

          Yeah there is a definitely a line between pisshead nuisance and team building and Paul probably crossed it a few times but it was part of a wider point around requiring a diverse group of leaders to help bond the team. You aren’t going to have a squad of 30 identikit people in a rugby team. Sounded like Gregan and Horan were the nerds to Paul’s and Little’s hoolios.

          Furthermore I think with the amazing work Paul was doing at Penrith is noteworthy and not compatible with someone who has a drinking or maturity problem.

        • onlinesideline

          No doubt Penrith work is great – for sure. But re drinking – 14 nights pissed out of 30 on tour..gezzuz – those high veld gals are freakin sexy though. Must have been amazing. Yeah suppose ur right re different characters but AAC returning at 5.30 and training at 8.30 – and that was JP test as to whether you had metal ? – OMG – he just sounds like one of those blokes who can handle his drink and still function. I knew a bloke who chained a packet of fags a day and was fittest bloke in team – not my bag though.

        • Huw Tindall

          Yeah I don’t think that’d cut the mustard nowadays. Hell on my amateur sporting tours I could barely get through post match beers before needing a bath and a lie down. It was the bridge between amateur and professional eras however. I think Paul said at one stage they were amateurs getting paid professional wages. They were all still ‘for the love of the game’ players who were at the right place right time. Certainly times have changed but us old blokes love our rose tint glasses. Overall though I thought a great pod with some great insight and honesty. The whole Nucifora and Penrith thing just shows the shambles Rugby was turning into and through which we’ve painfully lived.

        • Who?

          Thorn’s perspective on drinking culture..? Think he’d have a pretty clear perspective.

          For mine, if you’re getting paid big bucks to perform at the highest level, your nutrition is part of that. And abusing your body – be it drugs, alcohol, not sleeping enough, or just poor nutrition – isn’t acceptable. I accept that some people need a little ethanol as a social lubricant, but it shouldn’t ever be seen as a requirement, and should always be controlled to ensure it’s having a greater positive impact through morale than a negative impact through hydration/rest/etc, without worrying about the issues that can occur when people are out and about whilst not fully in control of themselves.

      • Missing Link

        Agree Mvovo had eyes for the ball, not a deliberate act but Genia jumped earlier and claimed the ball before being taken out, gotta protect the man in the air.

  • Missing Link

    Really impressed with the Rebels consistency in relentlessly burying their opposition, apart from the one game against the Tahs where they ran out of steam after 40 mins. There were some great tries, none better than the one that was disallowed. I know Debreczeni ran into the hole, but when you look at it Hodge sucked in a defender as a decoy, and Koroibete was on Debreczeni’s left shoulder which sucked in another defender and opened the gap for Debreczeni to run into, Hodge didn’t block a defender from getting to Debreczeni, the defender committed himself to tackling Hodge, Naivalu finished it and should have been awarded the try.

  • Mart

    Is it me. Or is Sean Maloneys commentary getting worse?

Melbourne Rebels

Who was it that said "there's always next season"? Oh yes, it was me, every year... Played every position in the forwards as a lad, was crap at all of them.

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