A boost in intensity for 2018 pre-season

With pre-season underway, Melbourne Rebels Head of Performance Will Markwick has given us an insight into the preparations ahead of the opening round of the 2018 Vodafone Super Rugby season.

Markwick opens up on the structure of the pre-season phase, the challenges of a revitalised squad and the work that’s required to play an aggressive and relentless style of rugby.


The pre-season can be broken into three distinct phases, conditioning, rugby and trial matches.

“We’ve got this period now which is very orientated around conditioning to the type of game that we want to play,” Markwick said.

“After Christmas, the tactical side really takes over. We will always continually work on our conditioning because we need that to be a point of difference for us.

“Then we move into trial games which is prep for the season so that’s a third and final stage of our pre-season where we actually get the play.”


Pre-season kicked-off with four subsections of players which presents its own challenges for Markwick and his athletic performance department.

“Not everyone is on the same page with physical condition and rugby understanding so it’s a careful balance to get everyone on the same balance from a fitness and strength perspective then lining it up with their rugby knowledge,” Markwick said.

“We have our existing Rebels, the new arrivals, our rehab list, which is quite big during the off-season, and finally our Wallabies.

“Each provides their own challenge and melding them back together in January when they’re all ready to go is not easy so it’s about understanding where each group is at and how we bridge them together.”


Markwick says that pre-season is important to lay the foundations for the style of rugby that Rebels Head Coach Dave Wessels and coaching staff want to play in 2018.

“Ultimately, we need to train at the intensity which is very high and we need to take an aggressive approach to making sure that we can attain that,” Markwick said.

“We need to make sure that our guys are conditioned, not just to participate but to perform at a Super Rugby level.

“Super Rugby as a competition is evolving so we need to make sure we’re up with that in order to beat the teams we need to beat to make finals.

“We need to make sure that our training intensity is higher than what we play and that’s our ambition.

“It’s not taking it easier, it’s not managing guys, it’s actually increasing their capacity to do more work (to prevent injuries).”

Join the Rebel Army for the 2018 Super Rugby with memberships now on sale from as little as $88 for an adult, $35 for children and $218 for a family of four for all eight home games.

The Melbourne Rebels will kick-off its 2018 Super Rugby campaign at home against the Queensland Reds at AAMI Park on Friday 23 February from 7.30pm (AEDT).

For more information, visit melbournerebels.com.