Resurgent Rebels not ready to talk finals

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

An honest conversation between Melbourne captain Adam Coleman and coach Dave Wessels sparked the resurgence of the Rebels after a midseason slump.

The 40-13 win over the Sunwolves was the team's sixth victory this season - a quick turnaround that ensures Melbourne will control their own finals destiny with clashes against the Blues (A), Waratahs (H), Reds (A) and Highlanders (A) to come.

Having snapped a five game losing streak just over a fortnight ago before cruising to a win against the Sunwolves, Wessels credited his captain with having the conviction to point out the errors in the team's week to week preparation.

"Adam had quite an honest conversation with me some time ago - just saying that we need to focus on playing our best rugby every time we go out there," Wessels said.

"We're a good enough team to win games if we play well.

"One of the mistakes we made in the middle part of the season was that we were looking too far ahead, too much.

"We always say we're not but in actual fact, we were.

"I think the reality is that we have learnt the lesson from that.

"We are going to enjoy tonight's win because it has brought some confidence back into the group, having won two in a row."

Wessels wasn't drawn on finals talk for those very reasons, though he was particularly pleased with his side's willingness to throw caution to the wind with ball in hand.

"We were successful in the early part of the season because we were prepared to be brave, prepared to have a go and while we were making those mistakes, the message was that we didn't want to move away from that," Wessels said.

"We needed to keep at it and I was pleased that we continued to have a crack at those things.

"They're not always going to work out but obviously they made a difference this week.

"It's just getting the balance right and knowing when the time is to pull the trigger and go wide versus trying to play through teams."

Wessels was also cautious when asked whether Reece Hodge will stay at flyhalf or move back to the centres, having had a relatively quiet night.

"I think one of the things he did really well was just control the game well," Wessels said.

"He was doing a lot of talking out there - which is pretty typical of Reece.

"Sometimes you don't always make the right decision as a 10 but he has the physical capacity to put the ball under his wing and he manages to go forward - which is a real asset.

"Going forward I'm not sure - we'll have to have a good look at the game."