‘Own worst enemy’: Rebels’ month from hell continues as Brumbies smash Aussie rivals, Lolesio’s timely reminder


The Melbourne Rebels’ month from hell has continued, as the Brumbies picked off the embattled Super Rugby franchise one lineout after another to go down to their Australian rivals 30-3 at AAMI Park.

Following weeks of dire headlines surrounding their future after falling into voluntary administration, the Rebels fluffed their lines and couldn’t take their chances on an emotional evening.

The embarrassingly low turnout, which came off the back of tickets not being able to sold until Monday afternoon, summed up the sad state of affairs at the franchise.

It also was a concerning warning ahead of next weekend’s Super Rugby, where all 12 franchises will descend on Melbourne for the third straight year.

Rob Leota’s Rebels suffered another blow on Friday night as the under-pressure Super Rugby franchise were smashed by the ACT Brumbies at AAMI Park, on February 23, 2024. (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

Off the back of a strong set-piece, Brumbies playmaker Noah Lolesio outplayed his opposite No.10 Carter Gordon.

Lolesio set up Corey Toole’s second try after a clever decision to attack the short side from a lineout and helped them to a 17-3 half-time lead.

Then, after some more brilliance from Nick Frost at the lineout, No.8 Charlie Cale scored a phenomenal individual try to ensure the Brumbies would leave Melbourne with a bonus point fourth try.

Cale’s second try in the 78th minute put the cherry on top of a strong first performance, which rubberstamped the Brumbies once again as Australia’s premier side.

Charlie Cale STOP. THAT. ????‍????#SuperRugbyPacific #REBvBRU pic.twitter.com/BXvcX5Ypot

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) February 23, 2024

The Rebels will rue several blown chances.

After Toole’s early five-pointer showcased the winger’s incredible speed, the Rebels had the chance to respond quickly with a five-metre lineout, but Leota was pinged at the rolling maul.

Later, on the stroke of half-time, Matt Gibbon was penalised at the scrum when the Rebels had been peppering the Brumbies’ line and dominating their opponents previously at the crucial set-piece platform.

But Leota’s cancelled try after Vaiolini Ekuasi held back Tom Hooper at the scrum rubbed more salt into the wound.

The Rebels will hope the lacklustre display isn’t the nail in the coffin that cements the thinking around the future of the franchise, who need a white knight to save them after sinking into $22 million of debt.  

Leota said the Rebels didn’t help themselves and were their “own worst enemy”.

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