Rebels end season on a high
REPORT: The Melbourne Rebels edged the Reds 31-28 in Brisbane on Friday to end their 2016 Super Rugby season on a high.
Both team's scored four converted tries in the match and in the end it was only a Jack Debreczeni penalty that separated the two teams.
The Rebels made a blistering start to the game when Tom English ran in for the game's first try in just the second minute.
The visitors then went further in front in the 11th minute when flyhalf Debreczeni converted a penalty to extend the lead to 10 points.
It was then the turn of the home side to hit back when scrumhalf Nick Frisby found an opening from close range to score his team's first try. Henry Taefu converted to reduce the deficit to three points.
The Rebels then regained their 10-point lead in the 28th minute when Sean McMahon ran straight through some poor Reds' defending to score his team's second try. Debreczeni converted to push the score out to 17-7 in favour of the visitors.
As the first half was drawing to a close the Reds continued to fall off tackles and it was McMahon again who went over the whitewash for his second try in the 34 minute.
At half-time the Rebels were looking comfortable with a scoreline that read 24-7.
The Reds started the second half the better of the two sides and they were rewarded in the 49th minute when captain Liam Gill scored a try after sustained pressure in the Rebels half.
Six minutes later the Reds were in again when star centre Samu Kerevi scored the easiest of tries when he was put into space from a scrum five metres from the Rebels' tryline.
However, the Reds' hard work was soon undone when almost straight after the restart, Nic Stirzaker charged down Duncan Paia'aua's kick and regathered to score his team's fourth try of the game.
Ten minutes later the Reds hit back once again when Gill scored his second try after a great build up by the home side. The ball went through 11 phases until the Wallaby flank was close enough to stretch over for a score.
The Reds did have opportunities late on to try and win the game, however, mistakes let them down on a number of occasions.
Man of the match: Liam Gill had an outstanding match for his team, while Nick Frisby also showed some great touches with the ball. Tom English had one of his better games in a Rebels jersey, while Jordy Reid was also productive. However, the award goes to Sean McMahon, who was powerful on attack. He scored two tries and won a few turnovers in the game as well.
Tries: Frisby, Gill 2, Kerevi
Cons: Taefu, Frisby 3
For Melbourne Rebels:
Tries: English, McMahon 2, Stirzaker
Cons: Debreczeni 4
Reds: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Henry Taefu, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Duncan Paia'aua, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Curtis Browning, 7 Liam Gill (captain), 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 Sef Fa'agase.
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Lukhan Tui, 20 Michael Gunn, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Alex Gibbon, 23 Campbell Magnay.
Rebels: 15 Paul Asquith, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Tom English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Colby Fainga'a, 7 Jordy Reid, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Culum Retallick, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Cruze Ah Nau, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Sione Tuipulotu, 23. Jack Maddocks.
Referee: Will Houston
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees, Amy Perrett
TMO: George Ayoub