Rebels to face off in Dewar Shield Prelim
Melbourne lock Esei Ha’angana admits his Unicorns team were “a bit shook up” after the loss to Harlequins last weekend in the Dewar Shield major semi-final.
After recording just their second loss of the season, the Unicorns now find themselves in the precarious position of possibly missing out on the grand-final, despite finishing the regular season as minor premiers.
This weekend they take on the Moorabbin Rams in the preliminary final.
Australian u/20s representative Ha’angana identified the breakdown as an area the Unicorns would need to improve on this week.
“I think our biggest focus this week should be the ruck and getting quick ball for the halves. I guess last week that was the area we got caught out in and they (Harlequins) were just taking ball away from us,” explained Ha’angana.
Standing in Melbourne’s way is Sione Tuipulotu and the Moorabbin Rams, who dusted off Power House 17-5 in the minor semi-final.
The young Rebels centre was dominant in the Rams win last weekend and offered an insight into the growing confidence of his team.
“I think with our backline, and some players returning this week like Oisin (Clarken) and Siaosi (Pulefale), I feel like we can score from anywhere and that makes us a dangerous side,” said Tuipulotu.
“I feel like our team’s being building and some of our returning players have been getting fit again. I don’t think any of the teams have played this Moorabbin team that we’re going to put out on Saturday, that’s why me and the boys are pretty confident we can go in there and get the job done”.
The threat posed by the improving Moorabbin outfit is not lost on Ha’angana.
“Moorabbin, they’ve got big ball carriers. The earlier we shut them out, the faster we get off the line and close them off the better it will be for us,” explained Ha’angana.
And if he gets the chance to come up against his Rebels mate Sione on the field?
“If I get the chance to have Sione one on one, I’m going to have him. I’m going to let him know that I’m here,” said Ha’angana.
Tune in to the preliminary final livestream between Melbourne and Moorabbin this Saturday at 3:20pm on the Melbourne Rebels Facebook page.