Melbourne Rebels open up battle for halfback role as roster finalised for 2020


“Frank is an international and is really developing as a player, whilst James and Ryan have great qualities and Super Rugby experience,” Berne said.

“We don’t know yet who the frontrunner is, which is exciting. It all boils down to how hard they want to compete for that spot in pre-season.”

Matt To’omua looks the likely starter at five-eighth with Quade Cooper heading to Japan, while John Eales medallist Marika Koroibete and fellow Wallabies Isi Naisarani, Reece Hodge and Dane Haylett-Petty will also shape as key players.

Marika Koroibete, centre, is a key man for the Rebels and the Wallabies. Credit:AAP

Rebels head of rugby and pathways Nick Ryan said several Victorians would be in contention for starting spots as the likes of Jordan Uelese, Trevor Hosea and Rob Leota continue to develop.

“With the club 10 years old we are seeing the first strong wave of Victorian players set for regular starting spots and several exciting local prospects in our academy system,” Ryan said.

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“We acknowledge there were aspects of our program and performance that weren’t up to scratch last season.

“At the same time, we did a lot well and it’s important for us to build from a stable base and add some quality players in key positions, to add depth and belief to the whole squad and really round out our full roster.”

Outside back Jack Maddocks is currently seconded to the Australian rugby sevens program while Luke Jones and Tom English are both within sight of becoming the first to play 100 games for the Rebels.

The Rebels start the Super Rugby season against Tokyo Sunwolves in Japan on February 1 and host New South Wales Waratahs in their first home game at AAMI Park on February 14.

Melbourne Rebels roster 2020: Jermaine Ainsley, Angus Cottrell, Andrew Deegan, Cabous Eloff, Tom English, Mees Erasmus, Pone Fa’amausili, Matt Gibbon, Esei Haangana, Richard Hardwick, Ross Haylett-Petty, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Trevor Hosea, Luke Jones, Andrew Kellaway, Josh Kemeny, Boyd Killingworth, Gideon Koegelenberg, Marika Koroibete, Rob Leota, Frank Lomani, Ryan Louwrens, Jack Maddocks, Campbell Magnay, Billy Meakes, Declan Moore, Isi Naisarani, Cameron Orr, Matt Philip, Harry Potter, Anaru Rangi, Fereti Sa’aga, Ruan Smith, Matt To’omua, Semisi Tupou, James Tuttle, Jordan Uelese, Michael Wells, Brad Wilkin.



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