Jack Debreczeni excited by new-look Rebels

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    When Jack Debreczeni left the Melbourne Rebels for Japan at the end of a miserable 2017 Super Rugby season he didn’t expect to return, ever.

    But after being lured back by incoming coach Dave Wessels, he’s gone from no contract to wearing the No.10 for their opening round clash with the Queensland Reds on Friday night at AAMI Park.

    Debreczeni will partner Test half Will Genia, who was one of 10 Test players named in the new-look Melbourne side, bolstered by ex-Western Force players following their axing from the competition.

    Eight Rebels from last season have retained a starting jersey, while six Force players are in the first 15 along with Genia, who has returned to Super Rugby from France.

    Debreczeni said a stint in Japan’s second division among semi-professionals helped him rediscover his love of rugby and regain his confidence, which took a beating with Melbourne only managing one win in 2017.

    “The last two years before going to Japan I over-thought a lot of things,” the 24-year-old said on Wednesday.

    “I was worried about the team and obviously as a 10 most of it falls on you if the attack is going well or bad.

    “I wasn’t playing the footy in front of me but now I’m more mature and better prepared to handle those responsibilities this year.”

    Previously splitting his time between five-eighth and fullback, Debreczeni said he played only at 10 for the Honda Heat which had helped him develop his game.

    He said playing alongside veteran Genia at Melbourne could only further help.

    “Will’s a world class player and he does a lot of controlling on the field so I can just play footy and it’s been really fun the last few weeks training with him,” Debreczeni said.

    “His communication is unreal – always lets me know what he needs more of from me and demands more and I think that makes me better.”

    With such talent in the side, the pressure is on the Rebels to perform, having never finished better than 10th in their eight years in the competition.

    “There’s a lot of excitement around the team with a sense of the unknown, being a new group,” Debreczeni said.

    “There’s a lot of potential there so hopefully we go well this Friday.”

    Dane Haylett-Petty, Jack Maddocks, Tom English, Reece Hodge, Sefa Naivalu, Jack Debreczeni, Will Genia, Amanaki Mafi, Angus Cottrell, Lopeti Timani, Adam Coleman (c), Matt Philip, Jermaine Ainsley, Jordan Uelese, Tetera Faulkner. Res: Anaru Rangi, Fereti Sa’aga, Sam Talakai, Sam Jeffries, Ross Haylett-Petty, Michael Ruru, Semisi Tupou, Billy Meakes.

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (27)

    • February 21st 2018 @ 6:59pm
      Malo said | February 21st 2018 @ 6:59pm | ! Report

      If you can’t beat the reds, it will be a very long season.

      • February 21st 2018 @ 8:29pm
        Fionn said | February 21st 2018 @ 8:29pm | ! Report

        Honest question – do you have any interest in the Aussies doing well, or did you secretly enjoy the 0-26 last year?

      • February 21st 2018 @ 10:25pm
        Ex force fan said | February 21st 2018 @ 10:25pm | ! Report

        Big.forward pack. With 4.Force players on the bench the last 20 min will be critical. Typical Wessels tactic.

        • Roar Rookie

          February 23rd 2018 @ 5:26am
          Huw Tindall said | February 23rd 2018 @ 5:26am | ! Report

          Very handy pack indeed. Lacking a recognized class 7 and Timani hasn’t lived up to potential but overall a pretty strong Super Rugby level pack and it includes player of the year Mafi at 8. Reds pack has some muscle in it too though with Tui, Rodda, Higgers, Caleb Timu etc so should be pretty brutal up front.

    • February 21st 2018 @ 9:36pm
      Rebels fan here said | February 21st 2018 @ 9:36pm | ! Report

      As a long time Rebels fan from the very beginning I have never been a fan of Debrezceni. Easily the weakest link in our back line.

      – lazy in defence
      – lazy in pursuit of player who beats him
      – seems to lose interest mid way through the game.
      – is easily targeted and exploited by the opposition.

      Fortunately Hodge is at centre and will probably step up at Flyhalf for half the game.

      I’d really rather see Hodge playing 10 to help bolster our national depth at 10 (he has no chance of upstaging a healthy Beale for the Wallabies 12 jersey due to Cheikas love affair of him)…but only time will tell.

      Best of luck Deb. I’m not holding my breath

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 1:59pm
        ChipandChagger said | February 22nd 2018 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

        Agree – he has shown promise but has never been an electric player.

        If he is first-choice he is going to choke a lethal backline outside him.

        Maybe its too early for Maddocks or Hodge to take the role so Wessels is going with experience over x factor in the pivot.

    • February 21st 2018 @ 10:01pm
      Gepetto said | February 21st 2018 @ 10:01pm | ! Report

      Genia is the best footballer in the country. The Rebels have a better #9#10 combination and should win unless coach Thorn comes up with some brilliant tactic to deliver a win for the Reds. Coleman will not be giving Sanchez any tactical advice.

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 8:08am
        Disagree said | February 22nd 2018 @ 8:08am | ! Report

        Genia is not the best player for this sole reason:

        – predictable

        His box kicking is atrociously predictable a grandma could swing her handbag over the top and block it.

        I can’t remember the last time Genia had a snipe with ball in hand around the ruck.

        He constantly falls into that neutral zone between the fullback and retreating players on kick returns and seems to get in the way.

        I’ve never seen him commit to a ruck to help out (I know it’s not his job but if needn’t he still won’t do it, but rather throw his hands in the air).

        They say he is fit and 100% but the guy has a fractured back…

        Debrezceni is by far a terrible 10. Lazy, disinterested, poor defender and easily readable.

        And I’m a Rebels fan! I’m worried!

        • Roar Guru

          February 22nd 2018 @ 11:45am
          John R said | February 22nd 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

          I can, he made a tonne of ‘snipes’ playing for the Wallabies last year.

      • February 22nd 2018 @ 3:34pm
        Malo said | February 22nd 2018 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

        Yeah let’s see if they can beat the Sunwolves

      • February 23rd 2018 @ 7:50am
        StuM said | February 23rd 2018 @ 7:50am | ! Report

        Please God, make it stop..!

    • February 22nd 2018 @ 10:25am
      Hugo said | February 22nd 2018 @ 10:25am | ! Report

      Genia is a great cover defender. Little guys like him can’t go high so you might often miss seeing him making (low) tackles. As for the box kick, you have to master it or you just hand the ball to your opponents. Why not let your 10 kick high instead?

    • February 22nd 2018 @ 10:55am
      Galatzo said | February 22nd 2018 @ 10:55am | ! Report

      Waiting to see how Seth Naivalu goes now that he’s back. He had a 10.5 clocking at age 20 six years ago. If he works on his pace now that he’s healthy he’ll have a hell of a 40m time. If he’s catching and kicking is reliable for the Rebs, he could be a great wing for the WBs and we’d have one very fast backline.

    • February 22nd 2018 @ 11:21am
      Jameswm said | February 22nd 2018 @ 11:21am | ! Report

      Is Colby Faingaa injured?

      Big pack, big back row backup. Parling?

      If Debreczeni doesn’t work then Hodge goes to 10 and Meakes comes on.

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