Rebels' record trifecta - Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

Rebels’ record trifecta

Rebels’ record trifecta

For the first time in their history, the Melbourne Rebels won three games in a row

The second derby of the season in Melbourne saw the Rebels face the Brumbies. Curiously both teams played the same opponents in the first two matches: Reds and Sunwolves.

The Rebels had to make one forced change in the starting XV, with newly appointed captain Adam Coleman not available substituted by Ross Haylett-Petty in the second row and by Tom English as skipper.
For the Brumbies the addition was front rower Scott Sio at his first outing of the season. A welcome comeback for the ACT players that suffered in the scrum in Brisbane but were dominant in Melbourne.

The Match

The slow starting Rebels took the best part of the first half to warm up, a worrying trend, should they play a more cynical opponent. Afterwards they dominated the match thanks to a solid defence and quick offensive schemes beautifully orchestrated by Will Genia.
The Brumbies were the first on the scoreboard, but after they lost their captain to a concussion, weren’t able to trouble the hosts.

Tom English captained the Rebels for the first time

First Half:

A powerful start from the Brumbies saw the visitor spending the first ten minutes in the Rebels’ half and crossing the chalk through Chance Peni. Rebels’ indiscipline forced Will Houston to show the first card to Jordan Uelese. The hooker paying for the third team penalty.
The Rebels chose to keep numbers in the forward pack with Naivalu giving space to Rangi. The move backfired with Leali’ifano serving the try assist to Peni on the left wing.

The Rebels resisted the 10 minutes a man down without conceding more points and even had a chance to put 3 points on the scoreboard with a Reece Hodge penalty that drifted on the right from the halfway line.

After regaining the numerical parity, the hosts started to push towards the Brumbies try line thanks to the powerful runs of their powerful duo Mafi / Timani. The Japanese international scored the first try for the Rebels cleverly touching the base of the post pads after a 5 meters scrum.

Powerful Amanaki Mafi scoring the first Rebels’ try

Soon after followed the second major for the Rebels. Reece Hodge was the one collecting the honours but a series of phases saw almost every red white and blue player touching the pill. A powerful display of attacking schemes that delighted the Melbourne faithful. Hodge converted his own try for the 14-5 partial score with 5 minutes to play.

Tom Banks saved his try line in the dying minutes of the first half with a wonderful tackle on Sefa Naivalu after the speedster ran 80 meters towards the opponent’s posts. The initial reaction called for a high tackle, but the replay showed no foul in the fullback’s action.

First half score: Rebels – Brumbies 14 -5 

Josh Mann-Rea left the pitch injuries at the end of the first half

Second Half:

A slow start for the second stanza of the match: the Brumbies got the most of the possession, but couldn’t convert it into points, crucially losing a ball forward close to the Rebels’ try line.

Dane Haylett-Petty and the Rebels had a nervous wait when the TMO watched repeatedly a replay of a fullback’s contact with Andy Muirhead

Speight scored at the 55th minute after the Rebels conceded a silly penalty for offside and the ACT went for the touch. The hosts concentrated too much on defending the maul and gave enough space to the backline. Hawera missed the conversion for a 4 point game.

Jordan Uelese gained a penalty on the halfway line, Reece Hodge went for the posts but missed again on the right.

Brumbies sub Leulua’aili’i was sent to the bin for a professional foul on the try line and it was Brumbies’ time to play 14 against 15.

At the first opportunity, the Rebels capitalised with Hodge’s second try of the game after a 5m scrum. The centre quick to react and collect Will Genia’ pass on the blind side.
Hodge converted for the 11 point lead with 15 minutes to play.

Two minutes later Maddocks scored a runaway try to put the game out of Brumbies’ reach.

The icing on the cake came with the fifth try: Ruru scored collecting a Rich Hardwick offload that was worth the entry price. The second rower stole the ball deep in the Rebels’ half and ran half of the pitch before getting out of steam, but he was quick to pass to the oncoming teammate.

Final score: Rebels – Brumbies /strong>

Another very solid performance from Matt Philip

The Wrap Up

Early days and no Kiwi or South African opponents for the Rebels, but for the first time, the franchise have won three games in a row.

The bonus point win gives the Rebels the lead in the Australian conference and clearly put them in contention to have their say in 2018.

The Brumbies had a very poor game, they contested the match only in the first 20 minutes of the game and had no pace to put the hosts under pressure.

The Game Changer

Leulua’aili’i’s card cost the Brumbies 19 points in the last quarter of the game. Tries to Hodge, Maddocks and Ruru secured the W for the home team.


Difficult to separate between Mafi and Hodge. The centre scored two tries, but the number 8 had a massive impact in the defensive line which created the perfect platform for the third win out of as many games for the Rebels.

Wallaby watch

Reece Hodge had a superb game, showing how the wallaby is not only a powerful kicker but also how much he has improved his defensive play, landing a couple of bone crunchers on the opponents. Cheika vision for him a future number 10 may change given his performances in the centres.


The Details

Score & Scorers

Rebels 33  (14)
Tries: Hodge (2), Mafi, Maddocks
Conversions: Hodge 4/5
Penalties: Hodge 0/2

Brumbies  10 (5)
Tries: Peni, Speight
Conversions: Leali’ifano 0/1, Hawera 0/1

Cards & citings

YC: Jordan Uelese (9′ – 19′); Leulua’aili’i (62′ – 72′)



  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Just finished watching it. You are very fast with this 22M but good on you. I must admit the ponies were poor. No structure and far too much individual plays. Rebels will struggle against a fast starting team but they certainly are looking good. Genia seems to have a new lease on life, he’s playing very well.

    • Tim

      Its very hard to gauge where the rebels are at. They vs Reds team with 14 men. The japs who are normally trash and brumbies who didn’t really play well. Real test will be NZ teams

  • Huw Tindall

    Speed to post the match review is faster than Genia to the base of a ruck. Well done! Rebels looking the real deal, and they should with their roster. It’s only their 3rd proper game together so expect they’ll only get better. What happened to the Brumbies? That’s a bigger mystery.

  • Gottsy

    Under Wessels, the Force didn’t really hit their straps until about half way through the season. With a lot more depth and less travel time, it will be interesting to see just how good the Rebels can get

  • Patrick

    Wouldn’t it be great if Hodge took the clutch in-game kicks for the Wallabies?

    • Rebels Ruck

      He missed a few on Friday night – fair enough, they were from distance or close to the touch-line. He should certainly do the kicking for touch rather than Foley.

      • Patrick

        At least they pushed the ball more than 20m upfield! :)

  • Keith Butler

    Excellent result for the Rebels. Kept the score down when they lost their hooker and came back to eventually dominate the Brumbies. Strong performance from the pack with Mafi and Timani leading the charge and another excellent game from the backs with Genia and Debs pulling the strings. Promising start to the season but we’ll see what they’re made of when they come up against the NZ and SA teams.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s, well just finished watching that game whilst scoffing my vegemite toast and coffee. BL’s points in no particular order:
    – Gee the Rebels were asleep for the first 20 or so minutes. Kind of like the Crusaders of old. When they woke up, it was enjoyable.
    – The Brumbies are not looking good. I am not sure the players know their role, or their plan and how to execute it. I think the coach needs to go back to the drawing board on the game plan.
    – It may only be three games in but the trend is apparent. The Rebels are starting to look like the real deal, and the Brumbies are going bacwards rapidly.
    – Reece Hodge is looking like the definite start for the Wallas. He is not a 10, so Cheiks needs to remove that from his thought line.
    – Genia is having a blider, his vision, and his super quick passing from the base of ruck is fantastic. A few more games like this and we are talking carreer best form.
    – The only concern with the Rebs is their scrum, it did not look that strong, and got pushed backwards a bit, A concern.
    – Time will tell when they play a Kiwi team, but Rebels are definitely looking the strongest of the Aus teams now.
    Over to you GAGR’s.

    • Huw Tindall

      Think you need a bullet point for the Rebels defence. Wessels talked about it during preseason as one of Basics and the platform to build off. They certainly are certainly doing that. Both at ruck and open field the Brumbies were under the pump of a fast aggressive organised defence.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        absolutely. It was great to see. Committed and very effective

      • Brisneyland Local

        Yeah, I think I left it out because I have forgotten what it looks like! ;-)

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Managed to watch it live. TBH I thought the referee was very poor to start with. Lots of Brumbies in from the side and niggles thatch let go but I think he got better as the match developed.
      Brumbies are very poor. No cohesion, lack of punch – especially from their wallabies and too much unwarranted niggle that seems to be to prove how tough they are but just makes them look like dicks. Joe Powell was just a cock here. Got mouthy when the referee could protect him and then proceeded to throw shit passes. Needs to pull his head in big time.
      Rebels are looking good and the difference is their Wallabies are stepping up and leading the way forward. I think Wessels has got something the other franchises are missing.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Spot on KRL.

  • Alister Smith

    I felt it would take the Rebels some time to gel with a new list, different coaches and combinations and that the Brumbies had done well adding to an already solid squad with minimal disruption. Obviously got that one wrong. It’s been a great start for Melbourne but I guess we don’t know precisely how much improvement any of our Australian sides have made until we face the Kiwi teams. Still there is lots to enjoy about how the Rebels are playing – pity Mafi isn’t eligible though

  • idiot savant

    I was very impressed with the Rebels forwards speed into contact and quick recycle which they were able to keep up for 4 or 5 consecutive phases. Thats a kiwi thing usually. I call it the swarm. The Rebels are a very well coached side. Wessells has also coached the pack to use all the annoying, niggling, in your face tactics, holding players down after tackles, pushing and knocking players over near rucks etc etc.

    And whats with Genia? Three games in a row totally focussed and full of energy after 2 years of staring at the crowd and looking disinterested in a Reds jumper. And Wessells has also got Timani going as well. Its early doors but Wessells really looks like a quality smart coach. Liked the option to bench a winger and keep a hooker after the YC. Im not sure any of the other Aust coaches would have been quick thinking enough to do that.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Yep Wessel’s is certainly presenting himself as the option to Cheika, or after Cheika. I will be honest. I dont think Larkham is the Wallas next coach!

      • Hoss

        My money is on Dr Evil (one Mr E Jones) next mate – oh the irony is delicious.

        • Brisneyland Local

          YEah I am hearing that as well. DO we think the Rugy establishment could swallow their pride and do that? Besides I am hopefult that Cheika the ass clown will be sacked before the world cup!

        • Hoss

          He would have to be the worlds form coach of the past 18 months. i get the RUs cashed up, but look what his done with nearly the same squad Lancaster had. Eddie has got inside his players heads and they play for him and i love his mind games. Having said that i am still on the side of Cheika – but its getting harder

        • Brisneyland Local

          I would love to have Eddie back, just wondering whether RA can suck it up and ask him back. Mind you he has signed with England until after the 2019 World Cup. I would like him back earlier! Unlike you I want Cheika gone. Especially after the revelations of his behaviour during the tour at the End of the year. It was mentioned in the GAGR pod this week. That has only confirmed my negative view. Time he was gone. I think RA are starting to think the same.

        • Hoss

          missed it mate – whats the goss?

        • Brisneyland Local

          Apparently according to the Podcast, during the game where the Wallas copped two yellow cards, Beale was the second one, Cheika screamed at Cameron Clyne that he was going to pull the whole Wallabies team off the ground. Allegedly either Clyne Said or infered that if Cheika did that, Clyne would pull him. I.E. sack Him.
          I am paraphrasing, but listen to the pod cast. It is all in that. This has been kept ver quiet until now. But is just a further indication of Cheika’s idiocy!

  • Nutta

    Well old mate Mafi certainly did himself a lot of favours didn’t he? Proper knob. I’m probably on my Pat Malone but I would not criticise a post match sanction if even up to 2wks to make it crystal clear to everyone that sort of shite behaviour is not to be contemplated: not the milk-diving or the niggle-shotting after the miraculous recovery.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Yep, dont want any of the round ball shite in our game!

    • idiot savant

      Yeah hes a DH, no doubt about it. Maybe he watched Aaron Smith against the Stormers. Now theres a real DH.

      • Nutta

        I know it’s my own prejudices but I have less contempt for Smith because he’s a 9. They get by off graft. But for the big hard-running tough guy to turn out to be such a ponce I found a real affront

    • Huw Tindall

      I must have missed this bit. And to think he juat missed the oscars season.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      That was crap. He needs to be reminded this isn’t soccer and he’s not a South American. Should have been penalised for unsportsmanlike behaviour. Yes it’s a law.

  • Gareth

    Brumbies don’t seem to have their zip in the back-line, however the Rebels defended very well and the forwards never gave quick ball.
    Round 4 (well 3rd game for Aussie teams)
    Reds play 2/3 at home
    Rebels 2/3 at home
    Tahs 1/3 at home
    Brumbies 0/3 at home

    I think its a bit rough not to play a home game until their 4th game, here is hoping Canberra get the Brumbies back on track.

  • Ads

    I was hoping Christian would put more pressure on Foley, but so far he hasn’t really done that much. Absolute champion no doubt, but not really driving the back line yet. Hope he comes good.

    • Hoss

      Spot on Ads – inspirational human, but no spark at 10, so far.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Yeah, it’s a shame and I think he’s looking a bit out of sorts. Maybe he should go to 12

  • Hoss

    Far be it for me to rain on a premature parade, but what did we learn ?

    The Rebels are a much improved outfit, but they are two sides forged into one – ipso facto – they bloody well should be improved, but lets measure the stiffness of the three teams they have conquered as a measure of where they sit so far. When they beat the Saders, Chiefs & Canes then i will sit up and listen more intently – i want them to be the real deal and to be fair, there are promising signs (plus i got some on them at end of last year when they were paying $38 to win the thing – so i am invested), but one swallow is a good first date – not a spring.

    The Brumbies, well, just when did they become just so bloody plain dreadful ? The great thinkers, innovators and entertainers are simply plodders.

    I am offerring Brumby game plan T-Shirts – $14.95 for interest parties – they read

    ‘Hope for Maul
    Play Like fucking idiots in between

    Poor old Naisarani – he has been a standout in the three games – he picked the wrong team didnt he.

    Godwin is an impostor, the K train wouldnt make a wallaby 30 on form Christian (as a rugby player only) seems lost and there bench is just terrible – they are a rudderless vessell with no leadership, direction or discernable gameplan outside of my t-shirt theory.

    I am a Tahs fan, but given the recent trips and schedule i reckong the Rebs start favourites next week, so i think its agreat start, Wessells has gelled the two tribes well, but for me the acid to the testicles is yet to be applied – stay tuned

    • idiot savant

      I missed your Ponderosa poetry in the off season Hoss. Reads like your starting this season in form.

  • Rebels Ruck

    I was at the game on Friday night and what really impressed me about the Rebels (similar to previous 2 games) is that they’re getting bonus point wins while still having plenty of improvement to do. Discipline, line out, goal kicking and ball handling all need to improve but they’re able to create and finish try scoring opportunities so well for a blended team. They also have Coleman, Parling and Weakes to come back from injury to strengthen the forward pack. Fair enough, the real test will come when they play SA and NZ teams, but they’re building skill and confidence towards those games.

  • Jasper Sapien.

    Well done the Rebels. How they did this without poaching the best players and the coach from a club which was folded I’ll never know.

ACT Brumbies

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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