Rebels visit to unlock regional potential
President of the Ballarat Rugby Union Club Luke Miller believes the Melbourne Rebels pre-season visit to country Victoria is the first step towards unlocking the region’s significant rugby potential.
The Rebels wrapped up their two-day pre-season intense training camp in Ballarat on Saturday morning, which saw the players put through their paces in extremely hot conditions.
“It think it’s vitally important,” Miller said of rugby’s importance to regional Victoria.
“There’s a growing number of people that live in regional Victoria that actually come from a rugby background and they move to regional Victoria for work, school or various reasons, it’s an untouched potential.
“I think of places like Shepparton, Bendigo and Geelong, they’ve got an untapped group of grassroots players coming through the system.
“When you go to the outskirts of Melbourne, such as Northern, who have a number of players in the current Rebels squad have actually come from the Panthers.
“I think it’s fantastic what the Rebels are doing, there’s been a big change and I think it’s time that community get on board and support the Rebels as well.”
Miller, a board member of the Victorian Rugby Union, has seen first-hand the growth of rugby in the regional areas.
In 2016, a Victorian Country Barbarians Team came together, with the assistance of various regional Victorian clubs, to promote growth, leadership, teamwork and performance in Regional Victoria.
Following the Rebels return to a community owned and driven organisation last year, the club has a strong focus on proactively reconnecting and engaging with grassroots rugby in Victoria.
Miller applauded the Rebels initiative to bring world-class rugby to Victoria and called upon the community to get behind the club.
“It’s magnificent for rugby in regional Victoria,” Miller said.
“The Rebels have come down to support grassroots rugby, it’s good for grassroots rugby to see professionals applying their trade and it gives them the opportunity to dream.
“It’s really good for regional and grassroots rugby to have the Rebels on board and it’s important for grassroots rugby to support the Rebels.
“After all, we’re all one team.”
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).
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.