Rebels winger Lachie Anderson believes the 'culture of love' building in Melbourne can inspire the club to reach higher heights in 2022.
The club is relishing the opportunity to stay in Melbourne across pre-season and for the Super Rugby Pacific season, set to open their account against the Reds on February 19 at Suncorp Stadium.
After a tough pre-season block, the Rebels are looking to build their connections on and off the field, taking the opportunity to head to Geelong last week as part of a three-day camp.
For the 24-year-old, the chance to bond with players outside of the training park was invaluable.
"The Geelong camp was a unique few days. It gives you a platform to get outside of Melbourne and spend time with each other as a team,” he explained to Rugby.com.au.
“Although you spend so much time together on a day-to-day basis, you do your stuff and training and then go home. This was more about the off-field stuff, building our off-field connections whilst continuing to build that culture of love which is something we speak about a lot.
“We got extra time to work on our identity pieces as a team and really lock down some team goals and what we want to be known as a team. Draw a few lines in the sand and move forward, drill down what we’re about.
“Those few days were really good to bond and spend time you probably wouldn’t get outside of those training hours.”
This culture starts with head coach Kevin Foote, who was appointed permanently after taking over in an interim role for Dave Wessels in Trans-Tasman.
Foote's influence is clear to see for the former Sevens star, suggesting it has become a fabric of their DNA as they attempt to deliver the club their first Super Rugby title.
“Kevin Foote has spearheaded that culture of love, he’s the lead example of what it’s like to live like that and what it looks like and when you have someone like him, it trickles down to every area in the club,” he believes.
“I don’t think it’s something that can do taught. It’s a way of life and I think when you come down to Melbourne and be a part of the club, it naturally happens.
“You spend time with the boys and you want to be a part of the club and what’s going on here. Especially this year, it feels like we’re building something special but that culture of love makes it more meaningful and I think that’ll show in some of the performances this year.”
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To do so, Anderson admits the club needs to find a great level of consistency after finding themselves in competitive positions multiple times across AU and Trans-Tasman before falling away at the end.
“I think for the Rebels and the 2021 season, the biggest thing for the team was consistency,” he added.
“In the past, we’ve been guilty of having some really good moments and then some poor ones and that probably showed in some of the results.
“I think this year for us, it’s about finding that balance and building some momentum. I think we’re going to be better having those experiences we went through last year, we had a lot of young guys make their debuts, they got some valuable minutes. We’re going to be better off for it.
“We’ve reviewed it and we know where and how we’re going to be better but at the same time, we want to move forward this year. We’re a new team, new season so whilst that’s a big part of moving forward, we want to live in the present which I think is going to be key.
“…A big part of Rugby is week-to-week, playing consistently and it’s in the little things. As a team, we want to build that culture of winning and if you do that, that leads to winning games, becoming the best team in Australia and winning titles so I think for me it’s about doing the basics right, my kicking, catching and being that triple-threat player which adds different elements to your game.”