The dream debut season continues to grow for young Melbourne Rebels back Reece Hodge.
Known for his huge boot, Hodge was recruited to the Rebels from Shute Shield club Manly Marlines late last year and hasn't disappointed in his first season of Super Rugby.
Hodge scored two tries in a newly found role of outside centre as he led the Melbourne Rebels to the top of the Australian conference in their 35-14 rout of the Cheetahs.
Hodge has played in almost every position in the backline this season as he continues to fill the gaps when needed for the young Rebels outfit.
Captain Nic Stirzaker said Hodge thrived at outside centre.
“I thought he was really good tonight,” Stirzaker said.
“It was probably good for him at centre to take a little bit of responsibility off him in the back field and allow him to play to his strengths.
“He’s a really powerful ballrunner and a really good chop tackler, so being able to play to his strengths is really vital for a young player.”
While Hodge may be only 21, head coach Tony McGahan praised his versatility and maturity in what is only his first season of professional rugby.
“He’s only a young man who’s come straight out of club rugby in Sydney and made an impact,” McGahan said.
“Tonight was the first real settled position he’s had. He’s been at fullback, named on the wing in his first game, both centres, he’s been a bit everywhere.”
Following their bonus point win over the Cheetahs, the Rebels now sit one-point clear of the Brumbies on top of the Australian conference but McGahan isn’t getting his team ahead of themselves as they face the tough challenge of heading to Auckland next Saturday to take on the Blues.
“We played them over there in the pre-season and they absolutely smashed us.” McGahan said.
They’ve been tracking pretty well from what I’ve seen, their forward pack looks strong and they’re playing with a really good spirit.”