Rebels foreign player quota is a blessing

Neville Howard Roar Rookie

By Neville Howard, Neville Howard is a Roar Rookie

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51 Have your say

    The final building blocks are falling into place for the Melbourne Rebels, as ‘we’ now have 30 players contracted to the club. We have an amazing world cup winning coach in Rod Maqueen, and a marketing spin-doctor (and one of my Idols) Harold Mitchell steering the ship into 2011 and leaders on the field with names like Mortlock, Huxley, Cordingley and Gerrard.

    The player kits and membership announcements are due soon, and in just over two months, the team will assemble in Melbourne for the first time.

    The ball is definitely on the roll, and gaining momentum.

    On top of this, I’ve heard rumours that a few strings are being pulled in effort to have a Waratah vs. Rebels first round, which will be guaranteed to lift the AAMI Park roof!

    Reflecting back to a mere few months ago, when the likes of Mark Ella and a few other disgruntled NSW rugby personalities cast scrutiny over possible team selections, and how Rebels will be diluting Australian Rugby even more, I’m happy to quietly prove them all wrong.

    The Rebels have a strong team, with senior experienced players and mentors, yet balanced with enough young players who will look to stick with the Rebels in years to come.

    Did they ‘raid’ the other Franchises? No. Did they significantly dilute any other team? No.

    ARU announced restrictions to the signing of current Wallabies and other Australian Super rugby team players. And due to this, the Rebels were allowed to contract up to 10 foreign players.

    Initially this seemed a possible burden to the average onlooker. Questions like ‘how will the public react’, and ‘Will they appeal to the average supporter?’ were asked.

    I am of the opinion that the ten foreign-player-allowance was a blessing in disguise!

    Yes, the initial intent was due to a recruitment embargo, which is designed to prevent any aggressive recruiting destabilising the seasons of the current four teams.

    But the result is a multicultural cosmopolitan fan base in Melbourne instantly taking ownership in the team.

    The Melbourne based Kiwis were quick to come out in support of the Rebels after signings of Somerville, O’Neill, MacDonald, Chamberlain and Vuna, The Saffers took pride in being represented by young guns Du Plessis and Saffy.

    Not to mention the UK ex-pats falling behind the Rebels in support of players like Lipman, Delve, Cipriani.

    To compliment these selections, players like Vuna, Saffy, Du Plessis, will also be available for Wallaby selection! Diluting Australian Rugby? I think not!

    Rebels have not even taken the pitch, yet they’ve already added value to the Super 15, as well as the Australian Rugby Institution by bringing in young guns, as well as towing in overseas based talent such as Rodzilla, Cordingley, Mitchell and Gerrard.

    In a few short months, the Rebels have proven wrong the naysayers, and won over a dedicated foreign fan base to compliment the already established rugby culture in Melbourne.

    I can’t wait for 2011, and the Rebel-Army will bring it to every game.

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    The Crowd Says (51)

    • July 8th 2010 @ 2:26am
      Mr Saunders said | July 8th 2010 @ 2:26am | ! Report

      There’s some good players in that squad, or at the very least some very, very reliable players. I’d expect the Rebels to finish ahead of the Force.

    • July 8th 2010 @ 6:29am
      Steve said | July 8th 2010 @ 6:29am | ! Report

      I think you forget that Rooney is also now avalible to Australia, even though he is 27

    • Roar Rookie

      July 8th 2010 @ 6:55am
      Hombre said | July 8th 2010 @ 6:55am | ! Report

      The new S15 structure may well turn out to be a blessing for the Rebels – over the last few seasons the all australian games have on the whole tended to be dour, error ridden affairs …. with so many “home” games now scheduled the Rebels won’t be so exposed to the the more expansive games of the NZ and SA teams on a regularly basis which will potentially limited their chances of being on the end of of some hidings.

      • July 8th 2010 @ 10:08am
        James D said | July 8th 2010 @ 10:08am | ! Report

        Yes it is a blessing to enjoy playing the reds or waratahs or brumbies instead of the highlanders lions or cheetahs.

        I do agree the dour games do occur when Aust teams play eachother though. They seem to all of a sudden get scared.

    • July 8th 2010 @ 7:16am
      formeropenside said | July 8th 2010 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      Until you are producing your own players, you are diluting the strength of Australian rugby. But best wishes to the Rebels, and lets hope you dont go the way of the Force.

      • July 8th 2010 @ 7:37am
        SCW2003 said | July 8th 2010 @ 7:37am | ! Report

        ‘Until you are producing your own players, you are diluting the strength of Australian rugby.’

        I dont follow, FO?

      • July 8th 2010 @ 9:18am
        Neville Howard said | July 8th 2010 @ 9:18am | ! Report

        Wow, strong words. You forget that a lot of Victorian ‘produced’ players are playing elsewhere in Australia as they didn’t have their own Super team? Based on your logic those blokes, including the current Wallaby captain should then return to Victoria?

        • July 8th 2010 @ 11:10am
          formeropenside said | July 8th 2010 @ 11:10am | ! Report

          Actually, Elsom learned his schoolboy rugby in Queensland, as did Digby Ioane and Ben Tapuai. Queensland has at least as great a claim as Victoria in those cases. But sure, I did think Elsom should have headed south to Melbourne, actually. That would have been a great bonus, snaring the Wallaby captain, and its a sacrifice the Brumbies should have been willing to make for the good of Australian rugby.

          • July 9th 2010 @ 9:33pm
            Liam said | July 9th 2010 @ 9:33pm | ! Report

            Ioane played all his Jnr rugby in Vic. We have a vibrant Jnr comp down here. Ioane’s younger brother monty plays U16’s in Vic now. McKenzie the Qnslnd coach also played his jnr schoolboy rugby at Scotch college in Melb too. Credit where credit is due.

      • July 8th 2010 @ 9:56am
        James D said | July 8th 2010 @ 9:56am | ! Report

        Perth are now generating their own players and in several years melbourne will to. The expansion of rugby is happening it is just at a nice moderate pace.

        • July 8th 2010 @ 11:07am
          formeropenside said | July 8th 2010 @ 11:07am | ! Report

          Perth are now generating their own players…

          what, both of them? And its only taken 5 years.

          • July 8th 2010 @ 11:23am
            Neville Howard said | July 8th 2010 @ 11:23am | ! Report

            you seem to forget, 15 years ago, it was Waratahs, and Reds only. Did you have the same opinion when Brumbies started up? They ended up playing in the finals five times, winning twice in a period of seven years.

            My point is just, more opportunities will generate more interest. I’d like to get a few statistics on how many current League players played Union in School/Unie/Clubs, but switched to League due to lack of opportunities at the top level.

          • July 8th 2010 @ 11:30am
            Working Class Rugger said | July 8th 2010 @ 11:30am | ! Report


            That’s not entirely fair. There are a number of local 18/19 year old’s in their academy who could realistically make the step up in the next few seasons. The issue with WA is they started with a low base and have had to build the ranks. There are quite a lot a good young juniors who will begin to show themselves on the junior ranks in the next couple of seasons or so.

          • July 8th 2010 @ 1:31pm
            James D said | July 8th 2010 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

            Yep both of them – now in the Force squad. Just be patient mate Rome was not built in a day.

    • July 8th 2010 @ 7:27am
      rebelyell said | July 8th 2010 @ 7:27am | ! Report

      With a rebel yell, he cried more, more, more … Go the Rebels !!!

    • July 8th 2010 @ 8:31am
      kovana said | July 8th 2010 @ 8:31am | ! Report

      So i take it the rebels will have all home games at AAMI park?

      Can someone please give me the capacity?

      And i think each team will have 8-9 Home matches?

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