Peter Sullivan (51)
Fans the players can count on
THE history books will show the Sharks got the points and the Rebels fell short last week. But after the siren it was apparent the Rebels won more then a game of rugby.
Never have I witnessed a standing ovation and the chant of a club name in a losing home side. Never.
The opening line of our team song is, ''Do you hear the people sing'' and as the curtain was drawn last Friday night, the people were singing loud and proud.
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There are many uncontrollables on footy field. A ref's call, the bounce of the ball, the crowd's buy in, a stadium's atmosphere. We are fortunate enough to have assurance that the last two will never be unknowns, but in fact could be our best assets.
There are some things you take out of an injury, mostly negative, but I have refused to let my time be wasted.
I have used this last year as an opportunity to get my finger on the pulse of the fans and try to remember what it's really all about.
I have often wandered through crowds at big matches. Some weeks with friends and family, but mostly on my own, pulling up stumps next to the punter who knows very little, and also ones that know it better than most.
Many people who have watched the matches this year have seen the madness that goes on underneath the goal post at the Yarra River end. It's an invasion of fans and they are like no other army on the planet.
People often say that within team sports you are defined by your fans and their passion. We all saw how the Barmy Army lifted England over the summer.
The Rebel Army motto is "by the fans for the fans".
Never have I been a prouder player as I walk past the clan at the games, and never have I felt so normal when I swing by and have a chat. They are very much part of the Rebels team.
Although our audiences here in Melbourne are new to the game of rugby, and we are showcasing a new sport to this city, the crowds at AAMI Park are demonstrating the passion of this sporting city and are actually leading the Rugby fraternity, showing everyone how it should be done.
They are bloody hardcore about their support for the Rebels. And good on them; also, the Force's fans are pretty good. Interesting that the two youngest Aus Conference Super teams have the most passionate supporters.
We could use a Rebel Army for each of the franchises.