Rebels starting with clean slate

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Melbourne Rebels want a fresh start in 2017 and that began with preseason, which kicked off on Monday.

Last year’s third-placed Australian conference side was ravaged by injuries through 2016, a run that began well before the start of the season but coach Tony McGahan says this year’s crop is much healthier.

The Rebels got stuck into training this week. Photo: Getty Images“We came back in in pretty good shape,” he said.

“I think last year we came in pretty banged up into the start of preseason. This year we come in in really good fettle, medical side and S and C have done a really good job so far over the break.

“What they're developing in their program will enable us to have a really good four or five weeks before Christmas and then reset and go from January.”

The Rebels underwent a review of their program at the end of the horror year of injuries and McGahan said there were a handful of different approaches in the club ahead of 2017.

“[Pre-season is] a great time of the year every year, everybody comes back in with hope, enthusiasm,” he said.

Tony McGahan at preseason training. Photo: Getty Images“We've had a lot of changes to our program with what we're doing and how we're doing it and everyone's really excited about the direction we're heading in 2017.”

Eight Rebels are yet to link up with the squad, tied up with representative and overseas club duties, but the side’s younger players are keen to impress.

Melbourne has moved to sign up a swathe of young talent, including schoolboys star Jack McGregor and U20s fullback Jack Maddocks and prop Tyrel Lomax.

The Rebels open their 2017 season against the Blues on February 23 2017.