Melbourne Rebels (ARC)
Melbourne Rising (NRC)
|League(s)||National Rugby Championship|
The Melbourne Rising is an Australian rugby union team based in Melbourne that competes in the National Rugby Championship (NRC). The team represents the rugby community in Victoria and is organised and managed by the Victorian Rugby Union (VRU), with the coaching and training programs used by the Melbourne Rebels being extended to players joining the team from the Rebels, the local Dewar Shield competition, and local Victorian juniors.
The NRC was launched in 2014, reinstating the national competition after an absence of six years. The previous competition was the Australian Rugby Championship (ARC), which was discontinued in 2007 after only one season. The team representing Victoria in the ARC was the Melbourne Rebels, organised and managed by the VRU. That Rebels team was the predecessor of the Melbourne Rebels team in Super Rugby and the Melbourne Rising team in the NRC.
Colours and logo
As of 2016, Melbourne Rising's colours of red, white and blue are those of the Melbourne Rebels, although the side previously played in a navy blue and pink jersey, with white and electric blue highlights. The team's current logo is also adapted from that of the parent franchise, with the name Melbourne Rising used instead of Melbourne Rebels.
In 2004, a consortium led by the Victorian Rugby Union entered the bidding process for a licence in the Super 14 competition to get a team in Melbourne for the 2006 season. The then Super 12 competition was expanding to 14 teams, with one new licence being allocated to an Australian team and another to a South African team. Victoria and Western Australia were the leading bidders for the Australian team and the licence was eventually allocated to Western Australia, creating the Western Force.
For the Australian Rugby Championship in 2007, however, both Victoria and Western Australia were allocated teams. The Australian Rugby Union announced the new, eight-team national competition after setting up a consultative process in 2006 which culminated in a working session of some 70 delegates from around the country. It was reported that New South Wales gave up a fourth team to enable Victoria to participate in the new national competition.
Melbourne Rebels (ARC team)
|2007 Melbourne Rebels ARC kit and logo.|
The Melbourne Rebels team was formed to participate in the Australian Rugby Championship (ARC) that started in August 2007. It was the only team in the ARC that was not directly linked to a Super Rugby franchise as Victoria did not have one at the time.
The Rebels' jersey had traditional navy blue and white hoops, the colours of the Victorian Axemen side that represented Victoria in the Australian Rugby Shield. The Rebels name was chosen in consultation with the local rugby community. VRU officials decided on the name in reference to Victoria's first Wallaby, Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop. At the official launch of the team’s name and jersey on 29 March 2007, former Wallaby Chris “Buddha” Handy said:
Like the great Weary Dunlop, Victorian rugby has a history of daring to be different, a touch of the larrikin, and always having a go. These qualities are what you want in a Rebel and characterize the way Victoria is successfully tackling this historic year.— Chris Handy, at the VRU’s Weary Dunlop Rugby lunch at Crown’s Palladium, 2007.
The Rebels' head coach for the ARC was Bill Millard, a former coach of the Australian Sevens and Sydney University. Former Wallaby Fletcher Dyson was a coaching consultant. Former Rugby World Cup-winning coach Rod Macqueen was the No. 1 ticket holder and a passionate supporter of the club. The Melbourne side was allowed to sign a number of players from the four Australian Super 14 franchises. This included three players from the Brumbies and Western Force, and one each from the New South Wales Waratahs and Queensland Reds. David Croft was the 2007 captain.
The Melbourne Rebels played their ARC home games at the Olympic Park Stadium located in inner Melbourne, but the team's first league game was an away win against the Canberra team in round one. The Melbourne Rebels played their first home match in front of 4,875 people at Olympic Park the following week, beating the East Coast Aces.
After finishing fourth on the league table, the Rebels defeated the minor premiers Western Sydney in their semi-final 23 to 3. The Rebels played the Central Coast Rays in the inaugural ARC Grand Final. The Melbourne team was defeated by the Central Coast 20 points to 12 in the Grand Final, finishing runners-up in the competition.
The Australian Rugby Championship was terminated at the end of 2007 after only one season of competition, with the Australian Rugby Union citing higher costs than budgeted and further projected financial losses. The Melbourne Rebels side was disbanded with the end of the ARC, but was revived in 2010 under the same name as the Super 14 tournament was expanded to the 15-team Super Rugby competition to include the Melbourne Rebels for the 2011 season.
|2014 Melbourne Rising kit and logo.|
National Rugby Championship
In December 2013, the ARU announced that the national competition was to be relaunched, with the National Rugby Championship (NRC) commencing in 2014. Expressions of interest were open to any interested bidders, with the accepted tenders finalised in early 2014. On 24 March 2014, it was announced that the Melbourne Rising would play in the NRC competition.
The Rising's jersey for the 2014 season was predominantly navy blue and pink, with white and electric blue highlights. The team's logo incorporated a rising star, representing future talent; a floral arrangement of Pink Heath, which is the state flower of Victoria; and the five stars representing the Melbourne Rebels.
For the 2014 NRC season, the Melbourne Rising secured RaboDirect as the main jersey sponsor. Sean Hedger and Matt Cockbain were appointed as head coach and forwards coach of the Rising. Both were assistant coaches at the Rebels. Craig McGrath, coach of the Melbourne Harlequin club, was appointed as backs coach. The Rising's training base is also at the Harlequin club in Ashwood. Nic Stirzaker was named as captain with Mitch Inman, Patrick Leafa and Pom Simona in the team's leadership group. Scrumhalf Luke Burgess played for both the Melbourne Rebels ARC team in 2007 and the Melbourne Rising NRC team in 2014.
The Melbourne Rising team has scheduled home matches at the following locations for the 2016 season:
Other home venues used in previous seasons:
|Morwell||Latrobe City Stadium||4,000|
For the Rising's initial season, the team played at AAMI Park, located in inner Melbourne. Opened in 2010, the stadium's major tenants include the Melbourne Rebels, Melbourne Storm, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City FC. Smaller venues are now preferred.
- (c) Denotes team captain, Bold denotes player is internationally capped, 1 denotes allocated national player additional to the contracted squad.
- National Rugby Championship
- Horan-Little Shield
- Winners: 2014
- Australian Rugby Championship (Rebels)
- Runners-up: 2007
National Rugby Championship
Year Pos Pld W D L F A +/- BP Pts Play-offs 2016 4th 7 3 0 4 260 262 −2 4 16 Semi-final loss to NSW Country Eagles by 50–24 2015 3rd 8 5 0 3 220 251 −31 0 20 Semi-final loss to UC Vikings by 50–34. 2014 1st 8 8 0 0 399 184 +215 8 40 Semi-final loss to Perth Spirit by 29–45.
Australian Rugby Championship (Rebels)
Year Pos Pld W D L F A +/- BP Pts Play-offs 2007 4th 8 5 0 3 170 206 -36 4 24 Runners-up
- Nic Stirzaker (2016)
- Colby Fainga'a and Scott Fuglistaller (2015)
- Nic Stirzaker (2014)
- David Croft (2007 – Rebels ARC)
2015 Melbourne Rising squad – NRC The squad for the 2015 National Rugby Championship season:
- Mitch Andrews
- Patrick Leafa
- Colby Fainga'a (c)
- Scott Fuglistaller (c)
- Sean McMahon1
- Jordy Reid
- Pom Simona
- Sione Taufa
- Lopeti Timani
- Maradona Farao
- Ben Meehan
- Junior Paila
- Lloyd Johansson
- Taiso Silafai-Leaana
- Leo Taliu
- Sasa Tofilau
- Sione Tuipolotu
- Justin Marsters
- Jonah Placid
(c) Team captain,
1. Allocated national player additional to the contracted squad.
2014 Melbourne Rising squad – NRC The squad for the 2014 National Rugby Championship season:
- Jack Debreczeni
- Shane Imo
- Martin Naufahu
- Rennie Lautolo-Molimau
- Jonah Placid
(c) Team captain,
1. Allocated national player additional to the contracted squad.
2007 Melbourne Rebels squad – ARC
- Scott Cameron PR (Sydney Uni)
- Heamani Lavaka PR (Easts, Sydney)
- Dan Palmer THP (Southern Districts)
- Mike Ross PR (Easts, Sydney)
- David Croft FL (Reds, Brothers) Captain
- David Dennis FL (Waratahs)
- Dave Haigh FL (Sydney Uni)
- David Haydon FL (Sydney Uni)
- Matt Hodgson FL (Force)
- Shawn Mackay FL (Randwick)
- Filipe Manu N8 (Souths, Brisbane)
- Digby Ioane WG, CE (Reds)
- Peter Playford WG, CE (Brumbies)
- Peter Owens WG (Sydney Uni)
- Nathan Trist WG (Sydney Uni)
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