Debreczeni defying critics with second chance

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Six months ago, Rebels flyhalf Jack Debreczeni thought his Super Rugby days were behind him.

After a 2017 in which he fell out of favour at AAMI Park, Debreczeni took his talents to Japanese side Honda Heat without any concrete plans for 2018.

He returned to Sydney in January to see friends and family before reassessing where his future lies but with new coach Dave Wessels on board, all roads led back to Melbourne.

Now, alongside star halfback Will Genia in near career best form, Debreczeni has a second lease on his rugby life.

"There was definitely a time when I didn't think I would come back to Australian rugby," Debreczeni told reporters at Melbourne's captain's run on Thursday.Debreczeni has taken his game to a new level in 2018. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"When I left, I left knowing there was no real contract here.

"I was heading over to Japan and even in January I was coming back to Sydney to see the family and reassess what I would do next in my career.

"Now I'm happy to back and it's exciting times."

While Genia's incredible form has made life far easier for the 24-year-old, the guidance of Wessels has helped Debreczeni find clarity.

By his own admission, Debreczeni went into every match with too much clutter in his mind.

Releasing that internal pressure has opened his eyes to the core business of rugby - enjoyment.

"I used to overthink the game, analyse the game too much and I was thinking too much out there on the field," Debreczeni said.Dave Wessels has played a big part in Debreczeni's development. Photo: Getty Images"When you're losing, it's also not a great environment to be a part of.

"Dave's done a really good job to find the love for the game, with everyone.

"Finding that why - why you play the game.

"He has done well to connect us in that way and to connect us as a rugby team, rather than just being co-workers.

"Training has been really enjoyable and it's a really good environment to be a part of."

Debreczeni's stint in Japan, albeit short, also helped with the mental strain that shackled his development to date.

"For me it was all mental - my development over there," he said.

"I became more mature on and off the field.Debreczeni and the Rebels face the Hurricanes tomorrow night. Photo: Getty Images"The game was really fast and you have to think a lot quicker on your feet.

"Then there is the language barrier which helps with the communication.

"(The development) was a little bit on the field but definitely mostly off it."

The Rebels have flown out of the gates this season but their biggest test awaits on Friday night.

A red hot Hurricanes travel to AAMI Park as overwhelming favourites, as Melbourne strive to snap the 32 game losing streak against Kiwi opponents.

"I'm sure everyone will be watching this game with a lot of anticipation being the first (trans-Tasman) derby," Debreczeni said.

"We just have to focus on ourselves - we can't think too much about it.

"Otherwise we will be putting too much pressure on ourselves.

"We're just excited for this weekend's game - it should be fun."

The Rebels host the Hurricanes at AAMI Park on Friday night, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and RUGBY.com.au radio.