The Brumbies have fired a warning shot to the rest of the Australian Conference, easily accounting for a muddled Rebels outfit in a 50-19 trial match win at Queanbeyan.
This was a trial between two of the more fancied sides in the Australian Conference and while both teams were without a host of stars, it was the Brumbies in full control from the outset.
The home side were a well oiled machine when Joe Powell paired up with Wharenui Hawera in the halves, picking off metres with ease through repeated efforts from Sam Carter, Isi Naisarani and Tom Cusack, in particular.
Rob Valetini caught the eye with some sharp acceleration to go with an enormous frame in the back row and it was that momentum with ball in hand that consistently had the Rebels on the back foot.
Naisarani's performance was of particular note.
He was one of, if not the best, player on the ground and looks to be yet another astute pickup from the brains trust in Canberra.In contrast, the opening kickoff set the tone for the Rebels, a shank from Jack Maddocks sailing out on the full.
The visitors had ample opportunity to apply pressure deep in the Brumbies 22 inside the first 10 minutes but just as they created space down the left edge, Tom Banks popped up to pick off an intercept and run 80 metres, only to be run down by an airborne Kitione Ratu.
Henry Speight picked the ball up at the back of the ensuing ruck and cruised over, giving his side an early 5-0 lead.
The home side’s second was more methodical in nature, a strong run from Naisarani off the back of a scrum quickly followed by a try scoring pick and drive from club co-captain Sam Carter.
The Rebels then put their first points on the board through Ratu - who looks to have serious pace to burn - Tayler Adams throwing a crisp pass to put him in the clear.But the home side were the better outfit for the majority of the first third and they showed as much just before the siren, Kyle Godwin hitting the line hard off a scrum from 30 out, offloading to Cusack and one phase later, Naisarani powered his way over the line.
It was their ever dependable rolling maul that put Robbie Abel over the line in the 47th minute, all but breaking the backs of a Rebels side that was well and truly finding its feet.
Melbourne finally settled into their phase play and 12 minutes later Dom Shipperley, in his return from a wretched injury run in 2017, split the line, drew the final defender and put former Aussie Sevens star Henry Hutchison over.
But just as the Rebels looked a more settled side they gifted the Brumbies five more points at the end of the second third, turning the ball over from a quick lineout and conceding to Andy Muirhead.Abel scored a carbon copy of his first try to kick off the third term, this time the maul forcing its way over from 20 out.
Lachie McCaffrey then gifted the Rebels seven points, a quick throw from a lineout falling into the arms of Sione Tuipulotu, who burrowed over.
Len Ikitau then scored with his first touch, the try created by a beautifully timed Jordan Jackson-Hope double pump pass, before Cornel McInerney crossed to bring up the half century.
Of the beaten brigade Jordan Uelese, Matt Philip and Tom English all caught the eye with ball in hand, Jack Debreczeni looked the most comfortable option at flyhalf and the sheer speed of Ratu will serve as some consolation for coach Dave Wessels.
Tries: Speight, Carter, Naisarani, Abel 2, Muirhead, Ikitau, McInerney
Cons: Hawera 3, Lonergan 2
Tries: Ratu, Hutchison, Tuipulotu
Cons: Debreczini 2