Rebels vs Brumbies: Five things we learned

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Rebels came from 16 points down to beat the Brumbies 29-26 at AAMI Park on Friday night.

What are we talking about after that derby?

1. Rebels show their mental grit

The Rebels were down to 13 men at half-time and were also staring down a 16-point deficit. Instead of letting that margin blow out, though, Melbourne burst out of the blocks in the second half and pulled off a comeback win.

The 2018 version of the Rebels would almost certainly have lost a game like this in the dying minutes.

Now, they’ve won three games in a row by single figures and that can only be a confidence boost for them heading to Africa.

2.  Genia a man possessed and it's paying off

Will Genia starred for the Rebels. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyWill Genia. Speaking post-match, Genia said he was simply trying to remind his teammates of their pre-match plan but maybe his emotions got the better of him.

You can’t imagine too many spectators will be worried about the scrumhalf getting angry if it continues to spark the kind of performance that came from the star halfback and the rest of the side in the second 40.

He scored the penultimate try, set up Jack Maddocks’ winning score in the 69th minute and was quick off every ruck in the second 40. Wallabies fans should be excited by the form he is in right now.

3. Meakes makes his mark

Genia and flyhalf Quade Cooper take many of the headlines when it comes to the Rebels but make no mistake, Billy Meakes is a key ingredient in the Melbourne recipe.

Meakes was a beast on Friday night against the Brumbies, effective in attack but particularly in defence.

The inside centre led the Rebels in tackles, making 12 for the night.

4. Discipline nearly the Rebels’ undoing

The Rebels’ infringements nearly cost them the game by half-time with a 9-3 penalty tally and two men in the bin.

While they managed to offset this in the second, and the Brumbies in fact levelled up the penalty count by full-time, discipline is something they need to rein in.

They were one of the most penalised sides in 2018 and pledged to improve this season. Poor discipline will be heavily punished 

5. Brumbies need to find their groove

The Brumbies form line is a hard one to read but it seems they struggle to put their best rugby together for enough of a game.

A superb outing against the Chiefs is starting to look more like an outlier than the norm and they have some work to do ahead of their clash with the Waratahs next weekend.

Their scrum was dominant for much of the night but they haven’t been able to find the 80-minute control they found against the Chiefs in any other game so far.