Rebels’ recipe for success? Use the Force

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    With former Western Force coach Dave Wessels on board, the Melbourne Rebels are hoping the combined knowledge and talent of two success-starved Super Rugby clubs means a change in fortune next year.

    Wessels hasn’t officially started with the Rebels but is helping lure a group of as many as 10 Force players including Wallabies Dane Haylett-Petty, Richard Hardwick and lock Adam Coleman, who is being tempted by big money to play overseas.

    Haylett-Petty’s brother Ross, Test prop Tetera Faulkner as well as young prop Jermaine Ainsley are expected to bolster the Melbourne squad while veteran utility back Jono Lance would bring some valuable experience.

    The Rebels were relieved to be able to fend off a late offer from Irish powerhouse Munster to sign Wessels.

    “We’re really quite excited about how things are coming together and obviously Dave’s influential there so securing his services was key to a lot of things so it was good to get him on board,” Melbourne chief executive Baden Stephenson said.

    Melbourne are still to finalise their playing list and coaching staff and due to the change in ownership, their board.

    Wessels meanwhile will bring along some of his Force staff which will help fast-track the squad.

    Stephenson said the squad, which included in-form Wallabies Will Genia, Marika Koroibete and Reece Hodge, would “definitely have a new look and feel”.

    “It hasn’t been the smoothest ride for Reece and Marika this year so it’s great to see them kicking on,” Stephenson said.

    “I think Genia is just showing his maturity and class which is huge for us and he’s really looking forward to relocating and he’s quite excited to work with Dave.”

    Following their worst Super Rugby season, which yielded only one win, Stephenson said the club needed a fresh start.

    “We need to do things differently and we’re certainly ready for that and there’s lots of change which is quite exciting,” Stephenson said.

    “The shared experiences that the Force had this year, Dave feels there will be a strong alliance and connection between staff and players and that’s part of his driver.”

    © AAP 2017