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.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner says Formula One is at its best when the drivers come across as heroes and the teams step back
Jose Mourinho has revealed that he attempted to persuade Luka Modric to return to the Premier League with Chelsea
Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby has admitted he seriously considered quitting football last season after suffering a string of injuries
Daniel Ricciardo says he will be ready to pounce in the drivers' championship if Mercedes continue to slip up this season
Swansea City would be prepared to sell striker Wilfried Bony for the right price, chairman Huw Jenkins has admitted