Rugby WA’s women have their first 2019 Super W win with a 38-10 defeat of a vastly improved Rebels outfit.
The West Australians controlled much of the proceedings, especially in the first half, and five tries in the opening 40 ultimately set them up for victory.
While it was a fairly comfortable WA win, this was not the same Rebels side that was blown away by Queensland and the Brumbies in rounds one and two.
Melbourne’s tenacious defence and dominant scrum helped them gain momentum in the second half, a 40-minute stretch where they drew even with WA and that included their first 2019 try, to Sharlene Fagalilo.
Rebels co-captain Meretiana Robinson could only find positives post-match, speaking of their improvement after two demoralising defeats.
"I think the resilience the girls have shown to come back after two huge defeats, it's enormous and I've been very proud to play alongside these girls," she said to FOX SPORTS post-match.
"Obviously,there's still a few things we need to clean up but it's good to see that it's starting to come together."
The Rebels celebrated without restraint after that try, their first in 350 minutes, and while Robinson was on the sideline, the utility could not have been more proud.
I'm just so happy to see the girls get across the line and see the way they got around each other.
"I think it's going to be a huge boost to our confidence.
"It was hard coming off those two losses, it gets you down, but the resilience the girls showed has been huge and it's going to give them a lot of confidence going forward."
RugbyWA captain Tara Reed was proud of her side's first victory after two gruelling road trips to kick off the year.
"It is a really good feeling. They made it tough for us but it was good to get the win," she said.
"The travel has taken a toll especially this quick turnaround, it'll be good to get back to get back in front of our home crowd next week."
It took a strong effort from WA Wallaroo Mhicca Carter for the first score of the afternoon, with the fullback breaking the line with her power and streaking away for the first try in the 10th minute.
Carmen Landkauf was able to score the first Rebels points of the season after they opted for the sticks at their first kickable penalty opportunity, breathing some extra fire into the home sides.
Their defensive tenacity seemed a level above what they had shown in the opening two games, with the Rebels withstanding a barrage of RugbyWA pressure, holding up two certain tries.
Eventually, that pressure became too much though with RugbyWA able to score from a scrum, outpacing the Rebels defence to put winger Zakiya Kereopa over in the corner.
That passage proved prophetic when it came to the flow of the match as Rugby WA peppered the Rebels defence and the Melbourne women threw their bodies on the line to save the score.
Opportunities simply kept coming for RugbyWA and a quick-thinking reach from Ariana Hira-Herangi gave them their second in five minutes.
Carter pounced on a Rebels lapse just after the half-hour mark to score her second with a super individual effort and open up WA’s gap.
They had one more before the break as Katherine Outred finished off a pick and go in the 39th minute, to stretch the lead to 28 points at the break.
The injection of no. 8 Ash Marsters in the second half was game-changing with the bullocking forward putting the Rebels on the front foot.
t looked like RugbyWA had scored 25 minutes into the second half but Dallys Tini’s effort was disallowed after the youngster rolled her way to the line.
A yellow card for Rugby WA's Brooke Mason had the visitors on the back foot and it opened the door for the Rebels to build some momentum.
Fagalilo made it over the line for the Rebels in the 69th minute but Rugby WA found a quick reply through Mason.
Melbourne were dealt an injury blow midway through the second half with Robinson hobbling off in the 60th minute but with a bye next week, they'll have plenty of time to review their players' fitness.
Rugby WA play their first home game of the year next week when they host the Waratahs, while Melbourne has the bye.
Tries: Carter 2, Kereopa, Hira-Herangi, Outred, Mason
Cons: Pomare 4
Yellow cards: Mason (58')