Rebels in really good shape: Stirzaker

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Nic Stirzaker and the Rebels are "sick to death" of speaking about the club's future.

Players, coaches and club staff alike are all very confident there will be Super Rugby in Melbourne in 2018 and Stirzaker said the thought that last night could have been the last time he played for the club hadn't even crossed his mind.

"I'd be pretty surprised if that is the case, yeah," Stirzaker said.

"We hadn't really talked about it.

"It was more about Mitch's 100th and other guys leaving at the end of an era - we really wanted to finish on a good note.Nic Stirzaker spoke strongly after the loss to the Jaguares. Photo: Getty Images"It wasn't about the future, we are sick to death of talking about that stuff to be honest."

Stirzaker preferred to focus on the impact Tony McGahan has had on the club, with last night's loss to the Jaguares the final time he will call the shots in Rebels colours.

"Obviously we have had a really tough year but I think in the context of the last four years, what the club has been able to do with Tony at the helm has been immense," he said.

"And the players that we have been able to bring through, if we can keep a lot of those guys around and stop the bleed overseas I think the club is in really good shape."

Those players include young guns Jack Maddocks, Sione Tuipulotu, Jordan Uelese, Semisi Tupou and Harrison Goddard, with all bar Goddard coming off the bench last night.

Maddocks was the one that caught the eye last night and McGahan praised the young fullback.

"He started in round one and we had a lot of confidence in him in the preseason," he said.

"Unfortunately he was injured and missed out on the 20s as well as most of our season as well but he has come back and got some game time last week before starting tonight.

"He has a huge future, he's a great young kid that is really keen to improve and i think he is an exciting player."Amanaki Mafi was treated to a standing ovation at AAMI Park. Photo: Getty ImagesMcGahan also heaped praise on Amanaki Mafi, who was enormous last night.

It's understood his re-signing is imminent and that's a massive boost for the club.

"I think he has been sensational in what he has delivered as an individual but also from a team perspective," he said.

"You see the passion and power that he has for the group - he has got on really well with the playing group and I think he has really enjoyed his time here in Melbourne.

"He is a special player and if we weren't at the bottom of the ladder - if we were at the top - the reviews he would be getting would be even more considered about what he has achieved this year."