For Melbourne’s Rebels, the most important victory came long before they’d ever kicked a ball or thrown a cut-out pass.
In 2015 the Rebels beat out nine rival bids for Super Rugby’s 15th license. Six other Australian groups, two New Zealand provinces (Hawkes Bay and Taranaki) and South Africa’s Southern Kings all put their hands up for a boarding pass into Super Rugby, however the decision was taken to expand the competition into AFL’s heartland.
Playing out of Melbourne’s stunning AAMI Park, the Rebels have attained respectability without yet threatening for silverware. Their seven-win, eight-loss record in 2016 appeared to be a major step in the right direction, so the Brisbane Global Tens should be the perfect launching pad for 2017.