Building an army of Rebels behind the new Super team

kronic Roar Rookie

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    2011 will mark a significant year in the history of the Victorian sporting landscape. It will field a team in the world’s most prestigious rugby competition, Super Rugby.

    A Super Rugby title is the only remaining trophy yet to be won by a Victorian side.

    The Geelong Cats, Melbourne Victory, Victorian Bushrangers are just some of the teams (at this point in time), which are the current premiers of their domestic sporting competition.

    These are the hopes and aspirations of a sports mad Victorian.

    A true Victorian. I was brought up on Australian Football (Richmond), soggy meat pies and afternoons at the MCG. I’m in a generation which has grown up with advancements in technology such as Pay-TV and the Internet.

    These have helped us gain exposure to a wide and interesting world, which obviously included sport. I remember a time when the sporting landscape in Australia (in particular Victoria), only included Australian Football and Cricket.

    Since 1998, with the introduction of a NRL team (Melbourne Storm) and the reinvention of Association Football through the A-League, many Victorians (Australians too) have a growing sporting interest, outside of traditional sports in their state.

    This is where I found rugby.

    I can remember watching a few matches in my early teens as well as league during the Super League war. During my mid-teens I fell out of love with sport for various reasons.

    However, towards my late teens and early twenties, I found my passion again.

    Before recommitting myself to a struggling Richmond, I was supporting the Wallabies in the build up to the 2007 World Cup in France. Subsequently, I discovered Super 14 in 2008.

    Due to the lack of a Victorian team, I decided to align myself with our northern neighbour, the NSW Waratahs. I even purchased a relatively cheap non-match day membership.

    It was only until late 2008 that I discovered Victoria’s attempt to gain a team in Super Rugby. I learned of the failed 2004 bid, which went to the Western Force. As well as news that SANZAR was looking to add another team to the prestigious competition.

    I thought the time was right to build support for a team in one of my favourite sports. I employed tools that were popular and appealed to the masses through Facebook and Twitter.

    I only gathered minimal support.

    However, it wasn’t long before I found similar people who had already established more successful groups. As they say, two-heads are better than one.

    Teaming up, we eventually found ourselves with 2,000 plus supporters. Out of this, we’ve evolved into a group known as the Rebel Army.

    For those on the outside looking in, you may ask: “Why don’t I have this similar level of commitment to my AFL club?” The answer is simple, it’s a matter of history.

    Richmond is over 100 years old, it’s supporter culture and groups are well established. On the other hand, the Rebels provide a fresh start something to be part of, to form the foundation of. A situation which isn’t dissimilar to that of the 11th A-League franchise Melbourne Heart.

    The Rebels will also provide a niche in the Victorian sporting landscape, one which is slowly disappearing, state representation. At present there is only one team, in all of the major domestic sporting competitions which represent Victoria, the Bushrangers.

    However, post-2011, this is expected to change with the Big Bash changing to a city/franchise structure. Victorian’s love their sport, and especially love their state representative sides, if the recent Big Bash series is anything to go by.

    I could be grasping at straws using cricket (which is a well established sport in this country) as a measure for supporting a domestic rugby team, but I don’t think this is too far off the mark.

    I’m sure every Victorian awaits the day, the mighty Victorian Rebels take on the NSW Waratahs at the new Rectangular Stadium.

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    The Crowd Says (78)

    • January 20th 2010 @ 6:39am
      Nick said | January 20th 2010 @ 6:39am | ! Report

      A match we await with much excitement here in South Africa. Good luck rebels

    • January 20th 2010 @ 6:40am
      MattRusty said | January 20th 2010 @ 6:40am | ! Report

      I wouldn’t be so sure about every Victorian awaiting the day that the Rebels play. Take it from me (Melbourne Storm supporter); if the Rebels survive 11 years in the competition many people in Melbourne will still have no idea who they are and what they do. Best to set your expectations at the right level. I note that you forgot to mention that the Melbourne Storm are a Victorian club who won their domestic competition – perhaps your use of the word “some” indicates a hidden agenda here. All the talk about forming an army…one could be forgiven for thinking you see this as a war. Listen to your new CEO Brian Waldron who is a great man, all codes can survive in Melbourne… you believe it?

      • Roar Guru

        January 20th 2010 @ 10:41am
        Bay35Pablo said | January 20th 2010 @ 10:41am | ! Report

        “if the Rebels survive 11 years in the competition many people in Melbourne will still have no idea who they are and what they do” What, like the Storm?

        “All the talk about forming an army…one could be forgiven for thinking you see this as a war.” Like the Barmy Army for the Poms, the Reds Army, etc? Feeling a bit paranoid Rusty?

        Here’s a bloke who has been gagging for rugby to give his state its own team. If you were a league fan in the 1990s I am sure you felt the same way when the Storm arrived.

        The whiff of sour grapes is overwhelming.

        I hope the Rebels do well (just not at the cost of the Tahs), but I also believe the Storm have a role and a niche in the NRL and Melbourne.

      • January 20th 2010 @ 8:28pm
        kronic said | January 20th 2010 @ 8:28pm | ! Report

        I’m sure if you look up the definition of an army you’ll also find it includes an organization or group to advance a cause. Perhaps your jealous you didn’t think of a similar concept earlier?

        • January 21st 2010 @ 6:32am
          MattRusty said | January 21st 2010 @ 6:32am | ! Report

          Fair call Bay35P, will put the grapes away…not paranoid about the Rebels joining the Melbourne community in 2011, more paranoid about us filling the new stadium this year; if that doesn’t happen…

          And good luck to you kronic, you have lots of passion but perhaps your energy would be better spent starting a real cheer squad, one that creates banners like the Graveyard mob for the Storm. Banners are a part of Melbourne culture, so keep it going; or you could take the easy option and just create a Facebook group and sit behind your keyboard feeling invincible. Which do you choose soldier?

          • January 21st 2010 @ 7:26am
            kronic said | January 21st 2010 @ 7:26am | ! Report

            Maybe you didn’t read between the lines, when I stated ‘we’ve evolved’. Don’t worry we’ll make our presence felt.

            Just on the stadium issue, I’d be more worried about retaining crowd numbers. You’ll get people that come along to each of the games, some to experience the new stadium and perhaps revisit these ‘foreign’ sports (not that I regard sports with 100+ years history in this country as foreign to a particular non-traditional locality).

    • January 20th 2010 @ 6:55am
      HarryTheHawk said | January 20th 2010 @ 6:55am | ! Report

      Good for you Kronic – go the Rebels !

    • January 20th 2010 @ 7:07am
      True Tah said | January 20th 2010 @ 7:07am | ! Report

      I think you might be disappointed that the team is known as the Melbourne Rebels, not the Victorian Rebels.

      Apart from that good luck, I hope the people of Melbourne will give the Rebels the kudos, you have already signed Macqueen and Waldron, two of the best, and I suspect they will get the right playing personnel.

      Would be good to see the likes of Lealifano, Elsom, Ioane and Horua playing, whilst their playing development may have taken off outside the state, they are all Victorians!

      • January 20th 2010 @ 8:18pm
        kronic said | January 20th 2010 @ 8:18pm | ! Report

        Might be the name of the consortium, however I haven’t really seen any evidence of marketing by the club. Sure you could count the scarf worn by Macqueen and the back drop at the press conferences. I’m led to believe these were used because nothing else was available.

        Regardless of whether it’s named the Melbourne or Victorian Rebels, we the fans, will always regard them as Victorian.

    • Roar Guru

      January 20th 2010 @ 7:09am
      Redb said | January 20th 2010 @ 7:09am | ! Report

      Being a Richmond supporter I thought you’d be more likely to support the new Melbourne HEART team 🙂

      • January 21st 2010 @ 7:20am
        kronic said | January 21st 2010 @ 7:20am | ! Report

        Sorry mate, I said Richmond not Collingwood. Some of us jump on the bandwagon, others stick through the pain to get the pleasure.

        Now that you mention it, I will be supporting Melbourne Heart though, a fresh start. I also like the fact Van’t Schip calls ‘a spade, a spade’.

        • Roar Guru

          January 21st 2010 @ 10:07am
          Redb said | January 21st 2010 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          no probs Kronic, only having a joke at your expense. 🙂 Richmond supporters have had it tough for many many years, the diehards who stick wtih their club through thick and thin should be applauded.

    • Roar Guru

      January 20th 2010 @ 7:28am
      Rickety Knees said | January 20th 2010 @ 7:28am | ! Report

      Good one Kronic – there are many New South Welshmen who will also be tuned in for that first match. The Feb-Aug 2011 competition promises to be a cracker.

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