Rugby Union

Samoa game crucial for underdone Melbourne Rebels

Melbourne Rebels centre Tamati Ellison admits he has never seen a perfect pre-season but he knows his club's lead-up to the Super Rugby campaign has not been ideal.

Injuries and a limited number of trial games means the majority of the Rebels' first-choice side will have their first game together only when they host Manu Samoa at AAMI Park on Thursday evening.

Tamati Ellison.
Tamati Ellison: "We are getting closer to a full squad now and that's a good chance to put a few things together before the Force next week." Photo: Getty Images

Rebels coach Tony McGahan has included leading players Lopeti Timani, Sean McMahon, Adam Thomson, James Hanson and Ellison in his 27-man squad in what will be the last trial before starting the season against Western Force in Perth on Saturday week.

Ellison said the Rebels needed to make the most of their time on field.

"We are getting closer to a full squad now and that's a good chance to put a few things together before the Force next week," Ellison said.

"That is probably the first chance to have a run together because of injury and other reasons but there are no excuses, you have to get across your content and it's just rugby after all – it's a pretty simple game. It will be the first run together for a lot of the guys so that's not ideal but we have to deal with it.

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"I don't know what an ideal pre-season looks like and nothing really counts until 7.30pm, or whatever time we play in Perth next week."

McMahon said his side would get the physical workout it needed from the Samoans. "Samoa is one of the most physical sides in world rugby, playing them will be a great experience."

SQUAD: Cruze Ah Nau, Ryan Cocker, Steve Cummins, Colby Fainga'a, Scott Fuglistaller, James Hanson, Luke Jones, Pat Leafa, Sean McMahon (captain), Jordy Reid, Culum Retallick, Siliva Siliva, Toby Smith, Adam Thomson, Lopeti Timani, Laurie Weeks, Jack Debreczeni, Tamati Ellison, Tom English, Mike Harris, Dan Hawkins, Reece Hodge, Mitch Inman, Ben Meehan, Jonah Placid, Dom Shipperley, Mick Snowden.

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