One week on top of the Aussie conference is not enough for the Melbourne Rebels.
Rebels coach Tony McGahan was quick to bat away the possibility that they were reading anything into their current position in the Australian conference, one point clear of the Brumbies.
Explaining his reluctance to get carried away with their position, McGahan said context was critical.
“To be top of the conference for a week, is that a big achievement, where the Chiefs have been top of the actual competition for 10 weeks?,” he said.
“If you think small, you’ll probably end up being small.”
While the Rebels are on top of the Australian sides, giving them an automatic finals spot at this stage, McGahan said every game felt like a must-win.
“We’re a must-win too,” he said.
“For us to continue in the competition, we’ve got to win every week and there are probably 10 or 11 sides that are in that same boat.
“The next few weeks just before the June series will really weed them out...so we have to stay in control.”
McGahan said Australian sides shouldn’t be panicked by the dominance of the Kiwis so far this season, with plenty more rounds to play out.
“I can see clearly what people are saying I don’t think there’s any doubt on that with where we are…(but) the competition tables in AFL and NRL are much the same, you get movement.
“I can clearly understand (that perception). Scorelines have been what they are, they’ve won convincingly against Australian sides and sit according to that.”
Auckland is the bottom side of the heavyweight New Zealand conference but McGahan said they wouldn’t be assuming a victory despite their standing.
“The Blues have been really good,” he said.
“They’ve made strides on and off the field over there and they seem to be playing for each other and understand what they’re trying to do.”
The Rebels have been able to keep an unchanged backline for pretty much the only time this season for the Blues clash, a development that is a relief for McGahan.
The same can’t be said for the Melbourne forwards, with Laurie Weeks ruled out for a month after injuring his hamstring in training this week.
Melbourne travels to Auckland to take on the Blues on Saturday at 5:35pm AEST LIVE on FOXSPORTS.