It’s been a long time coming after 287 days, as Melbourne Rebels get to play at home in Round 2 of the Super Rugby Pacific v Western Force at AAMI Park. The first 20 minutes may be quiet for both teams, with the Force up ahead early in the first half, while Rebels just took the one three-point goal. But it’s the away team (Western Force) who found it too easy to nail down v Rebels by 25 points, 3-28.
The Force looked stronger than ever off the back of their 2021 season, even though they were so close to upsetting the Brumbies with the narrow loss last week in Canberra. They showed patience and teamwork for the majority tonight that led to a couple of successful big points, having dug deeper after the first 20 minutes of play when the Rebels lacked their attacking fire & possessed messy discipline. That’s how the Force took control of this game with Tim Anstee onboard with the first-half TRY. And they continued to increase their winning margin after half-time through Kyle Godwin via the penalty scrum feed, where the Force wrapped this up comfortably through another five-pointer touch score by sub utility back, Byron Ralston.
Meanwhile, the Rebels always know how to get the ball rolling defensively. They won a few penalties along the way including the three-point goal between the sticks from Matt Toomua at fly-half. However, they made plenty of ill-disciplinary mistakes, mainly full-back Reece Hodge, who received a double yellow card that turned into red. And the Rebels were also disorganized when trying to get the job done with the ball on hand despite the winning penalties, which is disappointing to reflect through a 25-point loss after full-time.
Rebels will now head off to Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, QLD on Friday night v Fijian Drua where they both seek their first victories of 2022. And the Force will host their first home game this year at HBF Park in Perth, also on a Friday night local time v Queensland Reds, which is straight after the conclusion of Drua v Rebels match-up.