About Us

Whilst Rugby has been played in Victoria since 1880, and the Melbourne Rebels approach 10 years in Super Rugby, we remain driven by a start-up mentality.

The era of professionalism in Rugby led to a restructuring of the Super 10 competition after the 1995 World Cup. SANZAR was formed to manage a 12-team provincial union from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. During the early years of 2000s South Africa and Australia pushed for additional teams each. Argentina also expressed interest. Discussions also included a federated pacific island team in the vein of the West Indies cricket team, or individual island nations.

Bids for the 13th and 14th franchise opened in 2002. Melbourne had, to that point, successfully hosted several Wallaby test matches which the Victorian Rugby Union used to demonstrate a ground swell of support for Rugby by the Victorian public. Melbourne also hosted several World Cup matches hosted at Docklands Stadium and drew 50,000 to the final day of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games Rugby 7s.

The then Bracks government promised investment in infrastructure, considering a 25,000 seat redevelopment of Olympic Park Stadium or $100m for a new stadium. The successful bid went to Western Australia, ultimately becoming the Western Force for the 2004 Super 14 season.

In 2006 the Australian Rugby Union, following the suggestions of a working party, announced the formation of a national domestic competition. The Melbourne Rebels were established for the inaugural season of the Australian Rugby Championship by virtue of NSW surrendering a fourth team in favour of Victoria. Coached by Bill Millard and captained by David Croft, the Rebels finished fourth (out of 8) after the regular season, and after the finals series were runners up.

The move was viewed as an interim step to a Super 14 franchise.

The VRU (now know as Rugby VIC) bid twice for a team in SANZAR's 'Super' provincial competition before being accepted for the 2011 season. Their winning bid was named after the team they fielded in the ARC.

On 29 July, at the Victorian Rugby Union's quarterly corporate luncheon, the Melbourne Rebels and the Victorian Rugby Union launched the playing strip, logo and club song "Do You Hear the People Sing?" from Les Misérables.

From this point forward, Rugby in Victoria would change forever, as the countries supporting was introduced to a new professional sporting team, and an 'Army' of followers.2009 & 2010 The Rebels welcomed by ARU and SANZAR

In 2010 the Australia Rugby Union (ARU) endorsed the Rebels as its fifth Super Rugby franchise in Australia’s sporting capital of Melbourne. Preparations soon began for the entry of the Club into the competition from 2011 onwards.
Three expressions of interest were made to launch the bid for a Victorian based team to enter the competition. Harold Mitchell AC, along with foundation shareholders Bob Dalziel, Lyndsey Cattermole, Alan Winney, Ralph D’Silva, Gary Gray, Paul Kirk, Leon L’Huillier, David Ogilvy and Michael Bartlett joined forces with the Victorian Rugby Union (VRU). They were approved as the successful owners of the licence for the Melbourne Rebels, making the Club the first privately owned professional Rugby team in Australia.

Super Rugby offered an unprecedented opportunity for the Melbourne Rebels to be the first winter football code in Victoria to play within a regular and renowned international competition, and for the game to leave an indelible impact on the Victorian sporting landscape.

2006 - The Rebels Match on

The era of professionalism in Rugby led to a restructuring of the Super 10 competition after the 1995 World Cup. SANZAR was formed to manage a 12-team provincial union from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. During the early years of 2000s South Africa and Australia pushed for additional teams each. Argentina also expressed interest. Discussions also included a federated pacific island team in the vein of the West Indies cricket team, or individual island nations.

Bids for the 13th and 14th franchise opened in 2002. Melbourne had, to that point, successfully hosted several Wallaby test matches which the Victorian Rugby Union used to demonstrate a ground swell of support for Rugby by the Victorian public. Melbourne also hosted several World Cup matches hosted at Docklands Stadium and drew 50,000 to the final day of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games Rugby 7s.

The then Bracks government promised investment in infrastructure, considering a 25,000 seat redevelopment of Olympic Park Stadium or $100m for a new stadium. The successful bid went to Western Australia, ultimately becoming the Western Force for the 2004 Super 14 season.

In 2006 the Australian Rugby Union, following the suggestions of a working party, announced the formation of a national domestic competition. The Melbourne Rebels were established for the inaugural season of the Australian Rugby Championship by virtue of NSW surrendering a fourth team in favour of Victoria. Coached by Bill Millard and captained by David Croft, the Rebels finished fourth (out of 8) after the regular season, and after the finals series were runners up. The move was viewed as an interim step to a Super 14 franchise.

The VRU bid twice for a team in SANZAR's 'Super' provincial competition before being accepted for the 2011 season. Their winning bid was named after the team they fielded in the ARC.

On 29 July, at the Victorian Rugby Union's quarterly corporate luncheon, the Melbourne Rebels and the Victorian Rugby Union launched the playing strip, logo and club song "Do You Hear the People Sing?" from Les Misérables.
From this point forward, Rugby in Victoria would change forever, as the countries supporting was introduced to a new professional sporting team, and an 'Army' of followers.

2007 Rebels join the Australian Rugby Championships

Prior to Melbourne being allocated a position in the foundation season of the Australia Rugby Championship, a Victorian consortium had bid to get a Super 12 license. In 2006 the Super 12 expanded to become the Super 14, a 14 team competition, with one new license going to an Australian team and the other to a South African team. Victoria and Western Australia were the leading bidders for the license, and it eventually allocated to Western Australia, creating the Western Force.
The inaugural Australian Rugby Championship then started in August 2007, including eight teams, one of which based in Melbourne, Victoria. It was rumoured that the New South Wales Rugby Union (NSWRU) gave up a fourth club to enable Victoria to participate in the new national competition. It was subsequently revealed that thet club would be playing out of Olympic Park Stadium in Melbourne the current home of theMelbourne Storm and Melbourne Victory.

In December 2006, prior to club colours and name being known, the Victorian Rugby Union announced that former Burnside, Australian Sevens and Sydney University coach Bill Millard and former Wallaby Fletcher Dyson as the head coach and coach consultant respectively. Former Rugby World Cup-winning coach Rod Macqueen is also thought to have some involvement with the club.

The club was officially launced in March 2007, which unveiled details of the new team, including their name; the Melbourne Rebels. The launch took place at Crown's Palladium, and the team's first signings were revealed. The Rebels' first league game was an away win against the Canberra team in round one. The Rebels played their first home match in front of 4,875 people at Olympic Park the following week, beating the East Coast Aces.

The Rebels played the Central Coast in the inaugural ARC Grand Final, after defeating minor premiers Western Sydney in their semi-final 23 to 3. They were defeated by the Rays 20 points to 12 in the Grand Final, finishing runners-up in the inaugural competition.

Click to read the full Melbourne Rebels ARC squad.

2010 - Private Ownership of the Rebels

The Melbourne Rebels first, brief existence was as the Victorian representative in the now-defunct Australian Rugby Championship in 2007. Featuring the likes of Matt Cockbain, David Croft, Digby Ioane and Luke Burgess, the team whet the appetite for the existence of a professional rugby team based in Melbourne, and that appetite was satisfied when the Rebels were awarded the fifteenth licence when the Super Rugby competition expanded for the 2011 season.
In 2010 The Australia Rugby Union (ARU) endorsed the Rebels as its fifth Super Rugby franchise, in Australia's sporting capital of Melbourne, and preparations began for the entry of the Club into the competition from 2011 onwards.

Three expressions of interest were made to launch the bid for a Victorian based team to enter the competition. Harold Mitchell AC, along with foundation shareholders Bob Dalziel, Lyndsey Cattermole, Alan Winney, Ralph D'Silva, Gary Gray, Paul Kirk, Leon L'Huillier, David Ogilvy and Michael Bartlett joined forces with the Victorian Rugby Union. They were approved as the successful owners of the licence for the Melbourne Rebels, making the Club the first privately owned professional Rugby team in Australia.

The inclusion of Melbourne to Super Rugby followed an exhaustive application process with seven Australian expressions of interest initially received, including those from Western Sydney, NSW Country, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) endorsed Melbourne as its preferred contender, with SANZAR left to decide between the Australian candidate and the Southern Kings of South Africa (who later joined in 2013 at the expense of the Lions from Johannesburg).

SANZAR appointed an arbitration panel to decide between the bids lodged by the ARU on behalf of Melbourne, and the South African Rugby Union on behalf of the Southern Kings, and the Committee decided the optimal location for a 15th team in Super Rugby was Melbourne, with 5 teams representing each country. Throughout the process, the VRU and Melbourne Rebels consortium enjoyed unflinching support from the Victorian Sports Minister, James Merlino, the Victorian Government and Melbourne's passionate Rugby fans.

Super Rugby offered an unprecedented opportunity for the Melbourne Rebels to be the first winter football code in Victoria to play within a regular and renowned international competition, and for the game to leave an indelible impact on the Victorian sporting landscape.

2011 - Rebels Kick Off at AAMI Park

Ahead of the Club's inaugural season in 2011, former Rugby World-Cup winning Wallaby Coach Rod Macqueen was appointed as Melbourne Rebels Head Coach and Director of Rugby. Macqueen subsequently appointed Sydney University Head Coach Damien Hill as his assistant. Mark Bakewell and Nathan Grey were also part of the Club's original coaching setup.

Former Wallaby captain Stirling Mortlock AM was appointed as the first captain of the Club, with Welsh International Gareth Delve his deputy. Former Wallabies Adam Freier, Nic Henderson, Sam Cordingley, Julian Huxley, Alister Campbell, Rodney Blake and Mark Gerrard were amongst the foundation squad members, with Gerrard one of many Australian players who returned from offshore to Australian Rugby to become Rebels.

A large number of international players also joined the Club, including All Black prop Greg Somerville, Delve and English internationals Danny Cipriani and Michael Lipman.
The Rebels focused upon a pursuit of excellence both on and off the field, with the inception of the 5 Star Pledge and 5 Star Engagement program. The 5 Star Engagement program focused upon integrating the Rebels into the community, schools, Clubs, businesses and charities, and is still upheld to this day.

The Rebels' Club song was announced as "Do You Hear the People Sing?" from Les Misérables, and a navy home strip with five prominent stars was launched in July 2010.

The Rebels played pre-season trial matches against Tonga and Fiji, the first at the now demolished Olympic Park site (bordering AAMI Park) and the second in Morwell, country Victoria. The Rebels won both games easily, and strong attendances boosted the credentials of the new side.
On February 18 2011, the Rebels' season and existence began with their round one match against the NSW Waratahs at AAMI Park, in front of over 24,000 people. The Rebels made four changes to the starting XV the following week to face the ACT Brumbies; one of those changes saw the inclusion of future Wallaby Nick Phipps, who replaced Sam Cordingley at scrumhalf. The match will be remembered as the Club's first ever win, as a penalty kick from Danny Cipriani secured a 25-24 victory.

Wins were difficult to achieve beyond the Brumbies match, until the Rebels met the Hurricanes in round six. After trailing by seventeen points early in the first half, the Rebels went on a 39 point run to eventually win 45-25, Campbell scoring two tries.

The Rebels' final win of their first season also doubled as their first victory away from home when they defeated the Western Force in Perth. Future leader Hugh Pyle scored an intercept try on debut, and Richard Kingi scored a cheeky try following a clever cross-field penalty kick from Cipriani. The Rebels ran out 26-25 victors, though the Force gained revenge in the final game of the season at AAMI Park when they secured a three-point victory despite Freier and Mortlock scoring tries.

Three Rebels played on the international stage in 2011. Nick Phipps was selected for the Australian Rugby World Cup squad, capping off an incredible first twelve months as a professional, while Adam Byrnes played for Russia at the World Cup. Mark Gerrard also represented the Wallabies in 2011.

Welsh international Delve also made history as the first International captain of Australian Super Rugby team when he deputised for an injured Mortlock in the Round 9 match against the Highlanders at AAMI Park.
Phipps was awarded the inaugural Rebels Players' Award, as well as winning the Australian conference Rookie of the Year award, while Delve, Somerville, Pyle and Mortlock were also among the major prize winners at the end of season awards evening. 

2011 Achievements

3 Wins

First win against ACT Brumbies in Round 2,

First win against a NZ team in Round 6 against the Hurricanes

First Away win against the Western Force in Round 7

Rookie of the year: Hugh Pyle

Player’s player: Nick Phipps

People’s choice: Gareth Delve

Try of the year: Cooper Vuna (Hurricanes)

Head Coach: Rod Macqueen

Captain: Stirling Mortlock

2012 - Rebels Rise and step up in year 2

There was significant turnover in the Melbourne Rebels' playing squad heading into the 2012 season. Wallabies James O'Connor and Kurtley Beale joined the Club from the Western Force and Waratahs respectively, with Mitch Inman also joining from the Force. Kevin O'Neill, Greg Somerville and Sam Cordingley were the most notable departures as all three retired from professional Rugby.

The Rebels hosted three sides from the New Zealand conference in the 2012 pre-season. The Crusaders and Blues were visitors to AAMI Park, while the Chiefs were the opponents as the Rebels took a professional Rugby game to Geelong for the first time in the city's history.
Damien Hill took over as Head Coach, adding John Muggleton and Matt Cockbain to his backroom staff, but the Rebels had to wait until round five of the 2012 season to record their first win of the year. A long-range penalty goal from Mark Gerrard in the dying stages secured a famous one-point victory against the Force. A seamless kicking display from O'Connor then helped the Rebels secure their first ever victory over the Blues from Auckland at AAMI Park in round seven, before arguably the proudest result in the Club's short history in round twelve of the 2012 season.

The Canterbury Crusaders have won more Super Rugby titles than any other side in the competition, yet the fledgling Rebels pulled off a stunning 28-19 upset in front of over 18,000 fans at AAMI Park. Nick Phipps scored a double, while captain Stirling Mortlock's swan dive to score the Club's third try will go down in folklore. Another tight victory in Perth followed in round thirteen, before the Club finished the season with a five game losing streak.
Two close los
ses in South Africa, against the Lions and Stormers, encouraged fans that the Club had taken great strides as they secured four victories for the season and 13th position on the table.


Gareth Delve was the recipient of both the Rod Macqueen Pursuit of Excellence and People's Choice awards at the conclusion of the season, with the retiring Adam Freier awarded the Five Star Engagement Award and young lock Caderyn Neville the Rookie of the Year award. Kurtley Beale was awarded the highly-coveted Players' Player award. Mortlock, Al Campbell and Michael Lipman joined Freier in retirement, with a further twelve members of the squad departing for pastures new.

Adding to its growing list of marketing accolades, the Rebels principal and naming rights partner, RaboDirect, took the top spot at the 2012 Sponsorship Australasia National Awards. RaboDirect won the prize for Best Integrated Sporting Sponsorship, in recognition of their partnership with the Rebels during the inaugural 2011 season.

Cooper Vuna, Phipps and Beale all represented the Wallabies as Rebels in 2012, with Neville, O'Connor, Hugh Pyle and Mitch Inman involved in training and logistics camps with the national side as well.

2012 Achievements

4 Wins

First Win against Auckland Blues

Come from behind win against the Crusaders

Rookie of the year: Cadeyrn Neville

Player’s player: Kurtley Beale

People’s choice: Gareth Delve

Try of the year: Mark Gerrard

Head Coach: Damien Hill

Captain: Stirling Mortlock

2013 - New look Rebels show grit with improved season

Gareth Delve was appointed Captain of the Melbourne Rebels for the 2013 season, following the retirement of Stirling Mortlock, and the Club recruited Wallaby backrower Scott Higginbotham from the Queensland Reds in an exciting coup.

A number of young, exciting players from Australia and New Zealand also helped fill the gaps in the Rebels' squad, while Japanese hooker Shota Horie joined the Club from the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan. Jason Woodward and Scott Fuglistaller both joined from the Wellington Lions in the New Zealand's NPC competition, with both touching down in Melbourne with burgeoning reputations and ambitions to be involved in the Rebels' starting lineup.

In 2013, the Rebels again played a trial in Geelong, against the Hurricanes, as well as a first ever trial match in Hobart against the NSW Waratahs. The 2013 season loomed as the most important in the history of Rugby in Victoria, with the British & Irish Lions touring for the first time in twelve years. Melbourne was to host two matches against the tourists; a clash against the Rebels at AAMI Park, and a game against the Wallabies at Etihad Stadium four days later.

The Rebels were victorious in round one for the first time in their history, defeating the Force 30-23 with tries to Richard Kingi, Hugh Pyle and Ged Robinson. However it wasn't until the two sides met again in round eight that the Rebels were able to secure their second victory of the season. A double from new signing Woodward and tries again to Pyle and Kingi helped secure an identical score line, and a second consecutive season double against the Western Force.

Against the Blues, the Rebels made history when Horie became the first Japanese player to start a game for an Australian Super Rugby side. The Rebels went agonisingly close in that game, which followed tight defeats against the Crusaders and Chiefs, and their improved showings were rewarded when they defeated the Stormers at AAMI Park in round fourteen. It was the first time that the Rebels had ever beaten a South African opponent, the 30-21 victory including tries to Higginbotham and Pyle.

The following week, the Rebels again made history as the defeated the NSW Waratahs for the first time to hoist the Weary Dunlop Shield. Brendan McKibbin missed a late penalty goal for the visitors, with rookie Tom English's two tries enough to secure a nail-biting 24-22 victory.
On Tuesday June 25, the Rebels hosted the British & Irish Lions in front of a record AAMI Park rugby crowd of 28,658. The Rebels were defeated 35-0, conceding less points than both the Waratahs and Force in their subsequent tour games, but unable to register a score themselves. The score did not accurately reflect a relatively even, and highly physical contest, and the Rebels were depleted by the unavailability of Nick Phipps, Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor due to Wallaby selection, and Higginbotham due to injury.

The Rebels recorded their fifth and final victory of the 2013 season when they defeated the Highlanders for the first time at AAMI Park in round twenty. With ten players departing at season's end, the Club produced a stunning comeback to win 38-37. English, Bryce Hegarty and the departing Cooper Vuna all scored two tries, while departing skipper Delve missed a conversion attempt after the final siren had sounded.

Foundation Rebels Tim Davidson and Nic Henderson (both retiring), Phipps, Robinson and Kingi joined fellow three-year players Delve, Jarrod Saffy and Vuna in exiting the Club at the conclusion of the season, with O'Connor and Beale amongst the other departees. New Zealander Robinson and Phipps departed as equal record games holders for the Rebels, with both players have featured for the Club in Super Rugby on 47 occasions.

At the Club's 2013 end of season awards, Higginbotham was honoured with the top gong of Players' Player. Phipps, English and Fuglistaller were amongst other key awards recipients, as the Rebels finished the season in 12th place with a franchise-record 36 points.

Horie (Japan), Eddie Aholelei (Tonga), Phipps, Beale and O'Connor (all Australia) were the Rebels' international representatives of the 2013 season, with scrumhalf Luke Burgess joining the Club from France in June and being placed on standby for the Wallabies squad during the British & Irish Lions series and Pyle selected in the initial Wallaby training squad for The Rugby Championship. In late June 2013, the Melbourne Rebels' foundation shareholders handed their shares in the Club to the Victorian Rugby Union, thus signalling the end of private ownership for the franchise. Jonathan Ling replaced Harold Mitchell as Chairman, with the generous Mitchell declaring that it was always his intention to hand over ownership of the Rebels to the VRU. "Ownership of the Melbourne Rebels is now in the best place - the Victorian Rugby Community," Mitchell said. 

2013 Achievements

5 Wins.

First win against a South African team beating the Newlands Stormers First win against NSW Waratahs.

Rookie of the year: Tom English

Player’s player: Scott Higginbotham

People’s choice: Scott Higginbotham

Try of the year: Tom English

Head Coach: Damien Hill

Captain: Gareth Delve

2013 - Foundation Shareholders gift Rebels to VRU (Rugby VIC)

When the Rebels came into the competition in 2011, they were the first privately-owned Rugby Club in Australia.

After three seasons of private ownership, operating under a highly skilled and motivated team of shareholders, an extremely generous gesture was made.

On June 27, 2013, the Rebels announced that foundation shareholders Harold Mitchell AC, Bob Dalziel, Lyndsey Cattermole, Alan Winney, Ralph D'Silva, Gary Gray, Paul Kirk, Leon L'Huillier, David Ogilvy and Michael Bartlett had signed a term sheet dealing with the 100% transfer of their shares to the Victorian Rugby Union.

As part of the transfer of ownership, Melbourne Rebels Chairman Harold Mitchell AC passed on his legacy to new Chairman, Mr Jonathan Ling.
The Foundation Chairman had been an integral part of establishing the Rebels within Victoria, giving Melbourne the gift of its very own Rugby Union team for future generations to celebrate.

"It's always been my plan to hand ownership of the Melbourne Rebels to the Rugby family. All sports need to embrace their grass roots. Ownership of the Melbourne Rebels is now in the best place - the Victorian Rugby Community," said Harold Mitchell.

"I'm delighted to have played a part in establishing the Club in Melbourne."

Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne Rebels, Rob Clarke paid tribute to the efforts of these shareholders, who through their generosity and commitment changed Victorian Rugby forever.

"The pillars that have been built by the Rebels foundation shareholders give every Victorian man, woman and child a direct pathway to represent their country in Rugby. The legacy of the founding shareholders will live through each Rebel or Victorian representative from our local Rugby community who have the honour of representing Australia.

"There were 28,658 reasons on Tuesday night (when the Rebels hosted the British & Irish Lions) as to why Melbourne deserved a Super Rugby team, and it was the wisdom, vision and generous support of a few that has changed the sporting landscape in Australia's sporting capital."

Victorian Rugby Union CEO, Ross Oakley OAM spoke of the enormous potential for the code in Victoria, and the impact the Rebels franchise has had on its development.

"Victoria is indebted to the foundation shareholders of the Melbourne Rebels for the enormous contribution they have made to Rugby in Victoria since the inception of the professional team in late 2009," said Oakley.

"We can now look forward to exponential growth for Rugby in Victoria in future years as a result of both the professional and community arms joining together to meet our joint Rugby development objectives."

2014 - McGahan joins young Rebels in search for step change

The 2014 season saw the Rebels focus on the building blocks of creating a competitive, consistent and sustainable business, both on and off the field.

Head Coach Tony McGahan joined the Club together with Head of Athletic Performance Bryce Cavanagh. In addition Chief Executive Officer Rob Clarke entered his first full season at the helm and Scott Higginbotham was handed the Captaincy of the Club.

Fifteen new Rebels debuted, with Australian U20s Captain Sean McMahon winning the Club’s Rookie of the Year award, and Brumbies recruit Colby Fainga’a walking away with the highly-coveted Players’ Player Award. Other debutants included All Black Tamati Ellison, who re-signed for a further two years in Melbourne alongside Fainga’a, two-time Super Rugby winner Toby Smith, Japanese International Male Sau and young guns Jack Debreczeni and Sam Jeffries.

Foundation Rebels Laurie Weeks and Luke Jones made their Wallaby debuts against France at Etihad Stadium, while Higginbotham returned as a Wallaby regular for the first time since moving to Melbourne ahead of a 2013 season which was cut short by injury.
Whilst the Rebels finished the season with four victories to their name, it could have been much higher. Out of the top eight finishers in the Asteron Life Super Rugby competition, the Rebels either defeated or earned a losing bonus point against six of them; it was a season of near-misses in many ways.

The Club came agonisingly close to breaking its New Zealand duck, with narrow defeats against both the Highlanders and Chiefs, while they also secured their first ever victory over the Reds in Brisbane, prevailing 32-29 at Suncorp Stadium with Luke Burgess scoring two tries.

The season began with a record-breaking 35-14 victory over the Cheetahs at AAMI Park, with the Rebels recording their biggest ever Super Rugby win to kick start the campaign and Higginbotham scoring the sealing try at the death.

The Rebels also secured victory over 2013 finalist Brumbies at AAMI Park, and defeated the Western Force in the first ever Super Rugby game to be held at AAMI Park on Good Friday.

In local news, all Rebels players were required to play the entirety of the Club Rugby in the local Dewar Shield competition, a wonderful result for the local game in Victoria. Rebels featured in every regular season round of the Dewar Shield, with records set for participation and engagement.

The Rebels re-signed a number of star players heading into 2015 and beyond, with the likes of Pat Leafa, Cruze Ah-Nau, Nic Stirzaker and McMahon committing to longer stays in Melbourne. The Rebels also farewelled some departing players, with Foundation Rebel Lachlan Mitchell and Chris Thomson both retiring from professional Rugby.

Foundation sponsors RaboDirect and Massey Ferguson re-signed with the Rebels in a real vote of confidence in the Club’s direction, both citing their belief in the future of the Rebels. The Rebels also hit a membership record, with 7,250 fully paid financial members of the Club.

The Rebels recruited Wallabies Mike Harris and Dom Shipperley, as well as Cam Crawford and young prospects Jonah Placid, Steve Cummins and Tim Metcher, for the 2015 season. History was made with Sefanaia Naivalu signing a two-year deal to become the first ever Rebel to be signed directly from the Dewar Shield.

Representing the pinnacle of the community game, the Melbourne Rising team entered the inaugural Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC), which comprised of sixteen fully contracted Rebels (plus Wallaby allocation) and the cream of the crop from the Dewar Shield, and represented a wonderful opportunity for Rebels players to continue their development in the Super Rugby off-season.

2014 Achievements

4 Wins

Highlight being the first win against the Reds 30-27. Rebels biggest winning margin ever against the Cheetahs in Round 1 (35-14)

Rookie of the year: Sean McMahon

Player’s player: Colby Fainga’a

People’s choice: Shota Horie

Try of the year: Scott Higginbotham (Cheetahs)

Head Coach: Tony McGahan

Captain: Scott Higginbotham

2015 - Rebels Rise to all-time high

The 2015 season was Head Coach Tony McGahan’s second year at the helm. The club retained a record 20 players from the 2014 squad which was a reflection of the confidence in the current playing squad. The youthful and robust signings from previous years started to pay dividend with players such as Jack Debreczeni, Sean McMahon and Nic Stirzaker coming out of their shells to make a mark on the competition.
Asteron Life Super Rugby preview: Melbourne Rebels: Getty imagesThe team managed seven victories in the 2015 season, the most of any Rebels team since its inception in late 2010. On top of this, the Rebels recorded a first ever overseas victory against the seven-time Super Rugby champion Crusaders in Round 1 as well as five Rebels players selected in the Preliminary Qantas Wallabies Squad for The Rugby Championship in July.

At the conclusion of the 2015 season the sale of the Melbourne Rebels Rugby Union Limited (MRRU) to Imperium Sports Management Pty Ltd (ISM) was confirmed which would signify a new and bright chapter in the Melbourne Rebels history.

2015 Achievements

7 Wins

First win overseas against the Crusaders in Round 1. First away win in ACT against the Brumbies. First win against the Waikato Chiefs.

Rookie of the year: Jack Debreczeni

Player’s player: Sean McMahon

People’s choice: Sefanaia Naivalu

Try of the year: Sefanaia Naivalu (Reds)

Head Coach: Tony McGahan

Captain: Scott Higginbotham

2016 - Rebels locals step up for city

The 2016 season started with the Rebels signing two local talents, Sione Tuipulotu and Rob Leota, who would become the first players to come from the Victorian rugby system to play for the Rebels. The Rebels also signed Reece Hodge from the pathway although he was not a local player.

The Rebels won 3 of their first 4 games and after defeating the Cheetahs in round 9 were top of the Australian conference, however an injury crisis would see them fall to 3rd in the Australian conference and 12th overall.

2017 - Rebels future tested

The Rebels had recruited strongly in the off season with Welsh international Dominic Day, Japanese international Amanaki Mafi and NRL star Marika Koroibete joining along with a selection of young talent including another young Victorian talent Jordan Uelese, who would win his first Australian cap at the end of the season.

Kiwi fly-half Jackson Garden-Bachop would become the 100th player to represent the Rebels, while the only remaining foundation player, Laurie Weeks, became the most capped player. The Rebels only won once across the season, a 19-17 victory against the Brumbies, while there was also a 9-9 draw against the Sharks in Durban as the Rebels finished 18th and bottom of the Super Rugby ladder.

The threat of the axe from Super Rugby continued to hang over the Rebels well into the off season when it was announced that the Western Force would be axed and the Rebels saved, with CEO Andrew Cox transferring his shares back to the Victorian Rugby Union to secure the future of the Rebels. At the end of the season coach Tony McGahan departed the club the become the Reds' assistant coach.

2018 - Rebels most successful year ever

2018 saw great change for the Rebels, as 28 players departed the Rebels and 20 new players debuted, 12 of them new signings from the now defunct Force.

David Wessels was appointed the new coach, moving from the Force, and major signings were made in Australian international scrum-half Will Genia, Australian international lock Adam Coleman and former England and British and Irish Lion Geoff Parling.

On the field the Rebels made a significant improvement winning 4 of their first 5 matches, although they would only win 3 more narrowly missing out of their first appearance in the Super Rugby playoffs.

Jack Maddocks finished the season as the Rebels top try scorer with 9 tries, including the first ever Rebels hat-trick in Week 3 against the Sunwolves, while Reece Hodge overtook Jason Woodward as the Rebels leading points scorer, with his 117 points in the season putting him on 298 points total for the Rebels.

The season though ended on a sour note for the Rebels as disciplinary problems involving players Amanaki Mafi and Lopeti Timani before a nightclub incident involving Hunter Paisami led to an integrity review being ordered by the Rebels.

Achievements

7 wins – club record competition points total

21% increase in our home crowd attendance at our eight matches at AAMI Park.

24% of match attendees have children, 59% are 49 or younger and 32% female.

13% increase in members

20% year-on-year growth of our live domestic TV audience to 929K viewers, including 2% growth in female viewers to be now 32% of total audience.

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