Melbourne's Super Rugby misery in South Africa has continued with the Rebels falling to a 28-10 loss against the Bulls in Pretoria.
The Rebels were looking for a breakthrough win on South African soil but again fell short on Saturday, unable to claw their way back from an 18-point halftime deficit at Loftus Versfeld.
Compounding the disappointment, Melbourne may be without three Wallabies for their next clash with the Stormers in Cape Town with skipper Adam Coleman, fullback Dane Haylett-Petty and hooker Jordan Uelese suffering injuries.
Coleman didn't return after half-time after appearing to suffer a head knock, while Haylett-Petty failed a HIA in the first half in a worrying sign having recently spent a lengthy period out through concussion.
Uelese only lasted six minutes in the second half after coming on as a replacement before injuring his arm.
The Bulls had all the running in the first half with former Springboks hooker Adriaan Strauss and centre Jesse Kriel both scoring before they dealt the visitors a crucial blow with a try by winger Divan Rossouw after the halftime hooter.
Melbourne found some early rhythm in the second half and lodged their first and only try through halfback Michael Ruru, who started in place of injured Wallabies No.9 Will Genia.
Ruru ran himself ragged in a gutsy display, cramping often in the high altitude towards in the end of the match.
In a sloppy second half by both teams the Rebels' comeback stalled at 21-10.
When Andre Warner caught them napping with a quick tap to score in the 72nd minute it was game over and a third successive defeat for the Victorians.
Tries: Strauss, Kriel, Rossouw
Cons: Pollard 4