McKellar calls on Brumbies to respond

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has taken a philosophical view of his side's loss to the Rebels, calling on his players to mark the match as a turning point.

The Brumbies are now 1-2 following losses to the Reds and Rebels, with their solitary win against the Sunwolves hardly an eye catching performance to boot.

But McKellar is long off hitting the panic button, pointing to the 33-10 loss as a match that will provide an opportunity for his side to "grow".

"While we would like to be three from three, we have been on the road now for a long period of time and we look forward to getting home now and playing in front of our fans and our family," McKellar said.

"You can look at these moments and be really glum about them or you can think - this is an opportunity for us to learn and to grow.

"We have areas that we have to improve on but its early days, we will get back have a quick review and move onto the Sharks."

The Rebels ran away with the match when Les Makin was yellow carded in the 63rd minute - scoring three tries during his stint in the bin - and McKellar felt his side had the better of the 60 minutes prior to that.

"It was a decent start," he said.

"There were a couple of opportunities there in our maul that we didn't execute but I thought in the first 20 minutes we certainly showed signs of dominance.

"We lost our way there, a little bit, from 20 to 40 where they got back in the game with a couple of tries.

"And then I thought in the first 20 minutes of the second half we were the dominant side.

"We started to see signs of how we wanted to play.

"Sin bin - three tries during that period - whilst the sin bin was there and they took their opportunities."The Brumbies are 1-2 through three starts. Photo: Getty ImagesMcKellar was also a touch displeased with some foul play decisions made by referee Will Houston - particularly an incident in which Dane Haylett-Petty took Andy Muirhead out in the air and avoided a card.

"Our fullback was taken out in the air and lands on his head," McKellar said.

"I've seen that happen in the past and it's been a red card so just little things like that didn't go our way.

"I will have a chat to Lyndon about a couple of things there.

"I'm certainly not blaming referees or anything like that.

"You have to give credit to the opposition and Melbourne played well.Andy Muirhead impressed in the second half. Photo: Getty Images"They're in a purple patch at the moment and as we are trying to change a few things at the moment, it's going to take time."

McKellar praised the work of his young brigade, who injected some fresh energy into a Brumbies attack that spluttered through the second quarter of the match.

"Our bench, I was really proud of our young players," he said.

"I thought Folau Faingaa in his debut for the Brumbies and first game of Super Rugby - he was outstanding - as was Faalelei Sione.

"I thought our bench - Andy Muirhead - they added real spark in the 40 to 60 minute period there."

Sam Carter will have to pass concussion tests if he is to face the Sharks next Saturday but it appears as though ACT will be without Josh Mann-Rea, who has hurt his hamstring.