Kemeny and Louwrens set the pace for Rebels in training return

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Rebels have hit the ground running in their first day back at training on Monday.

Melbourne joined the Reds as the final Australian teams to return to Super Rugby training after nearly two months away from the club when they assembled on Monday.

Each group started off with fitness testing and flanker Josh Kemeny and halfback Ryan Louwrens showed they hadn't lost any fitness in their time in isolation.

Kemeny and Louwrens topped the forward and backs sections of their 12.km bronco time trial on Monday morning and Rebels coach Dave Wessels said he was pleased with the overall fitness of the group.

"I think the work that players are prepared to do when no one's watching is an indication of how committed they are to the group and how competitive they are in and of themselves," he said.

"I'm really pleased and I think there’s been a huge shift over 12 months where players are really self motivated at the moment and it was nice to see them rip in today."

The team's reunion was a big boon mentally as well after weeks of training in pairs or solo.

"When you’re part of the team, you're used to seeing people every day in a competitive environment and you miss it when it’s not there," he said.

"So there was a great energy around the place this morning with people seeing each other and connecting again, that was the most important part of the day.

"I’m really pleased with the fact that aside from two or three guys, everyone's fit and healthy and it's great to see some players on the injured list like Brad Wilkin and Bobby (James) Tuttle, guys like that haven’t played rugby  in a while, back on day one and being part of the fitness testing with everyone."

Wilkin and Tuttle are among the players who have benefited from the long season suspension, recovering from long-term injuries.

Back Semisi Tupou is another player who could be in the mix to play in the upcoming domestic Super Rugby competition after suffering an ACL injury in preseason.

The Rebels are currently training in a temporary gym space when they're not on the field to ensure they don't cross over with AAMI Park's other tenants.

"The Victorian government and the Olympic Park Trust have been really accommodating and it’s not an easy situation," he said.

"We normally share facilities with other teams in and around AAMI Park so we've had to be creative in the solutions we come up with, it's given us a space in an adjacent area of the stadium that’s vacant, we've got a makeshift gym in there for the time being perfect for us and isolates from all other codes but we’re subject to the same health checks everybody is.

"Everyone had their temperature checked by the team doctor this morning, strict guidelines about how many people allowed in certain spaces and how you interact with people and all that sort of stuff."