Rebels rein in buzz on early form

Super Rugby
by AAP

Melbourne Rebels chief executive Baden Stephenson got a sense that something special was brewing at the Super Rugby club during the pre-season.

But even he's been surprised by the domination of the new-look Rebels, who sit on top of the entire Super Rugby standings after their undefeated start to the year.

It's in stark contrast to last year when they managed just one win and finished dead last.

With the influx of a dozen Western Force players as well as their coach Dave Wessels after their club was cut from the downsized competition and the addition of Wallabies halfback Will Genia, the Rebels were always going to be a much stronger outfit.

Their early-season dominance has answered questions about how quickly they would be able to gel as a unit after coming together with such divided loyalties.The Rebels have gelled very quickly. Photo: Getty Images"It was a little bit of an unknown but I just know that I've seen a lot of pre-seasons and I think Dave and the coaching staff, they work particularly hard to maximise every session available," Stephenson said on Tuesday.

"I had a feeling that we'd start well but possibly slightly surprised that we've been as clinical as we have. But the quality of the players and the way Dave wants to play, we've had complete buy-in and I think the guys are enjoying their football."

Stephenson said it was pleasing to see that Wessels aside, it wasn't just the impact of the Force players proving the difference with 2017 Rebels such as Reece Hodge, Jack Maddocks, Amanaki Mafi and Tom English big contributors to the success.

The Rebels can make a complete a clean sweep of their Australian rivals with a victory against the Waratahs on Sunday in Sydney.

Melbourne's next challenge is a downtrodden Waratahs side. Photo: Getty ImagesStephenson said it would give Melbourne a very handy lead in the conference if they could upset the highly-rated Tahs.

"They will be our biggest challenge with four of the top players in the country in their side," he said.

"It would be huge in regards to getting through the first four rounds and our Australian conference if we can somehow manage a win and would set our season up well."

But the boss wasn't allowing himself to get carried away after only three games.

He said there was still work to do to improve crowd numbers, commercial partnerships and the connection with the community.

The Rebels face the Waratahs at Allianz Stadium on Sunday, kicking off at 4:05pm AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and radio.