Rebels fear last-chance saloon in Victoria
February 13, 2014
Australia launched its Super Rugby season with a ceremony that involved the fans
Melbourne Rebels risk losing their fragile hold on a Victorian supporter base if they fail to overcome the loss of several high-profile stars this Super Rugby season, Tony McGahan says.
The Rebels are trying to establish a strong club culture in a saturated Australian Football league market that also boasts the consistently successful Melbourne Storm National Rugby League team, and several of their rugby rivals have predicted an improved showing this season with noted disciplinarian McGahan at the helm. But the new coach has warned of the consequences if they don't.
Melbourne have gradually improved in their three seasons of Super Rugby, but they are yet to threaten for a finals berth and they made headlines last year for the wrong reasons through big-name players Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor. The trouble-making pair have now left the Rebels, leaving the franchise with an opportunity to make a fresh start; at the same time, however, the Rebels must forge ahead without two of their most marketable and match-winning commodities.
"For us we really want to make sure we're consistent," McGahan said of his focus on attitude, self-belief and defence. "Winning our home games is the No.1 priority.
"We know there's not a lot of time and patience out there for any code or any team for that matter. We have been in the competition three years and in normal circumstances we've got longer, but we understand the market we're in. We're under no illusions we need to get results to have a team and a style of play members can identify with. And that's in a tough market down there with the Melbourne Storm who do exceptionally well."
The Rebels are undefeated in their trial matches, and Luke Burgess said that McGahan had flicked a switch in the group.
"He's not prepared to ask someone to do something he's not prepared to do himself," Burgess said. "His work ethic is incredible; I've never met anyone like him in rugby. It's pretty inspirational to hear him talk about his expectations."
Communication error please reload the page.
George Coetzee and Tommy Fleetwood remained in contention to secure a place in the Masters as Andy Sullivan, Alexander Levy, Marcel Siem and Ross Fisher all missed out in Morocco
Andy Murray made a solid start in his quest for a third Miami Open title as he dispatched Donald Young to reach the third round in Florida
Kevin De Bruyne would consider a move back to Chelsea despite barely featuring in his time at Stamford Bridge, sources told ESPN
Daley Blind believes moving to Manchester United and competing in the Premier League has helped him to grow as a player
Ronnie O'Sullivan has withdrawn from the China Open for undisclosed "health reasons", World Snooker has announced
Who has driven in the most GPs before taking pole position?
Mudslinging and an agreement on something that will never happen, it's all in a day's work for a Formula One boss, as Maurice Hamilton explains...
Fallout continues from the NSW-Brumbies derby, with one Tahs forward - not Potgieter - surprised by other unsavoury comments during the game, Greg Growden reports
Greg Growden previews Super Rugby round 7. We've also got key stats, team news and all the line-ups to inform your ESPN Footytips Super Rugby picks
Will Mercedes dominate again? Can anybody catch up with the help of a rainstorm? And will the Red Bull/Renault relationship tear itself apart? All those questions and more will be answered at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix
Tiger Woods is confident of recovering from a poor run of form to qualify for the US Ryder Cup team in 2016, according to captain Davis Love III
Jonas Gutierrez has told Canal+ he will never forgive Newcastle for the way the club treated him during his battle with cancer, but wants to stay at St James' Park beyond this summer
Lionel Messi earned more than €1 million (£740,000) a week last year to make him the world's highest-paid player and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho was the best-paid coach, according to a new survey
Andy Murray has expressed fears that his game will regress without full-time coaching in a candid exchange with a fellow Twitter user as he prepares to add former world No.4 Jonas Bjorkman to his coaching team
Luis Suarez has laughed off the idea that the Barcelona players have set out to help Lionel Messi beat Cristiano Ronaldo to La Liga's top scorer award
Unbeaten heavyweight Dillian Whyte, 28, (14-0, 11 KOs) tells ESPN where his rivalry with Anthony Joshua stems from and outlines the plan for his career this year after returning from a doping ban in November
Some of the best fighters to ever glove up have plied their trade in the Octagon - now ESPN list the 10 best who have fought under the UFC banner
Who was the first Briton to win the British Grand Prix?
Where does Anthony Davidson's record of 24 Grands Prix without a point rank him?
How many F1 drivers have had one win, but done it at their home Grand Prix?