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'There is noise': Rebels get psychologist's help as they try to prevent Super Rugby spiral

29th February, 2024
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29th February, 2024
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With last week’s duel with Noah Lolesio out of the way, Carter Gordon faces another contender for the Wallabies No.10 jersey when he faces Ben Donaldson on Friday.

The No.10 fight is shaping as a beauty this season, and Gordon was out pointed by the Brumbies playmaker last week.

The Rebels were disappointing in a 30-3 Super Rugby Pacific opening-round loss to the ACT Brumbies and are out to make amends against the Western Force.

The Perth side were also outplayed by the Hurricanes 44-14 in their round-one outing

The teams meet on Friday night as part of Super Round which features all 12 teams playing at AAMI Park over the weekend.

“Obviously there’s a lot to clean up after the first round as we weren’t too happy with how we played,” Gordon told AAP.

Carter Gordon during an Australia Wallabies training camp at Sanctuary Cove on April 18, 2023 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Carter Gordon during an Australia Wallabies training camp at Sanctuary Cove on April 18, 2023 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

“We’ve put some systems into place and we’ve had a good few days of training and we’re looking forward to putting in a good performance this week.”

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While new Wallabies coach Joe Schmidt will be in the stands at AAMI Park, Gordon said he couldn’t look at facing Donaldson as a personal battle and needed to focus instead on improving his own performance.

“Donno (Donaldson) is a good player and he had a good game last week for the Force, but this week I’ve just been focused on my performance and make sure that I’m getting my things right so I can put the team in the best place,” Gordon said.

“It’s important that you do your job for your team as you have no control how the other team is going to play.

“In my mind if you go out there and do your job and you control the team properly you have a good game.”

Gordon said the players were continuing to work with AFL flag-winning sports psychologist Andrew Waterson as they look to stop outside noise affecting their on-field performance.

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Waterson, who was part of the backroom staff that plotted the Melbourne Demons’ title in 2021, was initially brought in to help players including Gordon, fullback Andrew Kellaway and star signing Taniela Tupou with the fallout from the Wallabies’ horror World Cup campaign last year. 

Watch every match of Super Rugby Pacific ad-free, live & on demand on the Home of Rugby, Stan Sport

But with the financially stricken Rebels seemingly headed towards Super extinction, his skill-set is being used to help players deal with the uncertainty surrounding their playing future.

With Rugby Australia set to make a decision on the club’s future in the coming weeks, Gordon admitted that was on the minds of some players.

“There is noise there and we’d be silly saying it wasn’t on the front of some people’s minds,” the 24-year-old said.

Carter Gordon. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

“But we’re trying to come together as much as we can as a team and put the team first and focus on the games and training.”

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Gordon said he was starting to see how sports psychology could help with managing his mind-set and improving his game.

“I definitely haven’t in the past, but I’m slowly getting into that now and I think it’s a part of my game and a part of my life I can get better at so yeah, definitely using him (Waterson) more,” he said.

“Not only myself but the whole team is.”

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