The Melbourne Rising is an Australian rugby union team based in Melbourne that competes in the National Rugby Championship (NRC). The team represents the rugby community in Victoria and is organised and managed by Rugby Victoria with the coaching and training programs used by the Melbourne Rebels being extended to players joining the team from the Rebels, the local Dewar Shield competition, and local Victorian juniors.[1][2]

Melbourne Rising
Melbourne Rising logo 2016.png
Founded2007 Melbourne Rebels (ARC)
2014 Melbourne Rising (NRC)
LocationMelbourne, Australia                                 
Ground(s)(Cap: 3,000) Bailey Reserve, Adelaide
(Cap: 11,000) Eureka Stadium, Ballarat
(Cap: 12,000) Casey Fields, Casey
(Cap: 3,000) Sparks Reserve, Box Hill
Coach(es)Pom Simona
Captain(s)Semisi Tupou
League(s)National Rugby Championship                  
Team kit
Official website
Sefa Naivalu playing for the Rising in 2016.

The NRC was launched in 2014, reinstating the national competition after an absence of six years.[3] The previous competition was the Australian Rugby Championship (ARC), which was discontinued in 2007 after only one season.[4] The team representing Victoria in the ARC was the Melbourne Rebels, organised and managed by the VRU. That Rebels team was the predecessor of the Melbourne Rebels team in Super Rugby and the Melbourne Rising team in the NRC.


As of 2016, Melbourne Rising's colours of red, white and blue are those of the Melbourne Rebels,[5] although the side previously played in a navy blue and pink jersey, with white and electric blue highlights.[1] The team's current logo is also adapted from that of the parent franchise, with the name Melbourne Rising used instead of Melbourne Rebels.


In 2004, a consortium led by the Victorian Rugby Union entered the bidding process for a licence in the Super 14 competition to get a team in Melbourne for the 2006 season. The then Super 12 competition was expanding to 14 teams, with one new licence being allocated to an Australian team and another to a South African team. Victoria and Western Australia were the leading bidders for the Australian team and the licence was eventually allocated to Western Australia, creating the Western Force.[6]

For the Australian Rugby Championship in 2007, however, both Victoria and Western Australia were allocated teams. The Australian Rugby Union announced the new, eight-team national competition after setting up a consultative process in 2006 which culminated in a working session of some 70 delegates from around the country.[7] It was reported that New South Wales gave up a fourth team to enable Victoria to participate in the new national competition.[8][9]

Melbourne Rebels (ARC team)Edit

  2007 Melbourne Rebels ARC kit and logo.

The Melbourne Rebels team was formed to participate in the Australian Rugby Championship (ARC) that started in August 2007. It was the only team in the ARC that was not directly linked to a Super Rugby franchise as Victoria did not have one at the time.

The Rebels' jersey had traditional navy blue and white hoops, the colours of the Victorian Axemen side that represented Victoria in the Australian Rugby Shield.[10] The Rebels name was chosen in consultation with the local rugby community. VRU officials decided on the name in reference to Victoria's first Wallaby, Sir Edward "Weary" Dunlop.[11] At the official launch of the team's name and jersey on 29 March 2007, former Wallaby Chris “Buddha” Handy said:

Like the great Weary Dunlop, Victorian rugby has a history of daring to be different, a touch of the larrikin, and always having a go. These qualities are what you want in a Rebel and characterize the way Victoria is successfully tackling this historic year.

— Chris Handy, at the VRU’s Weary Dunlop Rugby lunch at Crown’s Palladium, 2007.[11]

The Rebels' head coach for the ARC was Bill Millard, a former coach of the Australian Sevens and Sydney University.[12] Former Wallaby Fletcher Dyson was a coaching consultant. Former Rugby World Cup-winning coach Rod Macqueen was the No. 1 ticket holder and a passionate supporter of the club.[13] The Melbourne side was allowed to sign a number of players from the four Australian Super 14 franchises. This included three players from the Brumbies and Western Force, and one each from the New South Wales Waratahs and Queensland Reds.[10] David Croft was the 2007 captain.[14][15][16]

The Melbourne Rebels played their ARC home games at the Olympic Park Stadium located in inner Melbourne, but the team's first league game was an away win against the Canberra team in round one. The Melbourne Rebels played their first home match in front of 4,875 people at Olympic Park the following week, beating the East Coast Aces.

After finishing fourth on the league table, the Rebels defeated the minor premiers Western Sydney in their semi-final 23 to 3. The Rebels played the Central Coast Rays in the inaugural ARC Grand Final. The Melbourne team was defeated by the Central Coast 20 points to 12 in the Grand Final, finishing runners-up in the competition.

The Australian Rugby Championship was terminated at the end of 2007 after only one season of competition, with the Australian Rugby Union citing higher costs than budgeted and further projected financial losses.[17] The Melbourne Rebels side was disbanded with the end of the ARC, but was revived in 2010 under the same name as the Super 14 tournament was expanded to the 15-team Super Rugby competition to include the Melbourne Rebels for the 2011 season.

  2014 Melbourne Rising kit and logo.
Rising lineout win against Rams in 2014.

National Rugby ChampionshipEdit

In December 2013, the ARU announced that the national competition was to be relaunched, with the National Rugby Championship (NRC) commencing in 2014.[18] Expressions of interest were open to any interested bidders, with the accepted tenders finalised in early 2014. On 24 March 2014, it was announced that the Melbourne Rising would play in the NRC competition.[19][20]

The Rising's jersey for the 2014 season was predominantly navy blue and pink, with white and electric blue highlights.[1] The team's logo incorporated a rising star, representing future talent; a floral arrangement of Pink Heath, which is the state flower of Victoria; and the five stars representing the Melbourne Rebels.[1]

For the 2014 NRC season, the Melbourne Rising secured RaboDirect as the main jersey sponsor.[21] Sean Hedger and Matt Cockbain were appointed as head coach and forwards coach of the Rising. Both were assistant coaches at the Rebels. Craig McGrath, coach of the Melbourne Harlequin club, was appointed as backs coach. The Rising's training base is also at the Harlequin club in Ashwood.[1][22] Nic Stirzaker was named as captain with Mitch Inman, Patrick Leafa and Pom Simona in the team's leadership group.[23] Scrumhalf Luke Burgess played for both the Melbourne Rebels ARC team in 2007 and the Melbourne Rising NRC team in 2014.

Home groundsEdit

The Melbourne Rising team has scheduled home matches at the following locations for the 2019 season:[24]

City   Venue   Capacity
Adelaide Bailey Reserve 3,000
Ballarat Eureka Stadium 11,000
Box Hill RHL Sparks Reserve 3,000
Melbourne Casey Fields 12,000

Other home venues used in previous seasons:

City   Venue   Capacity
Ashwood Ashwood Reserve 3,000
Ballarat St Patrick's College 3,000
Frankston Frankston Park 8,000
Geelong GMHBA Stadium 34,074
Melbourne AAMI Park 29,500
Morwell Latrobe City Stadium 4,000

For the Rising's initial season, the team played at AAMI Park, located in inner Melbourne.[25] Opened in 2010, the stadium's major tenants include the Melbourne Rebels, Melbourne Storm, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City FC.[26] Smaller venues were preferred from 2016 onward.[27]

Current squadEdit

The squad for the 2019 NRC season:

Melbourne Rising squad – NRC 2019[A]
Bold denotes player is internationally capped. (c) Denotes team captain. 1 denotes marquee player.
Flanker Ikapote Tupai.
Centre Lloyd Johansson.
Fullback Jack Maddocks.



Season standingsEdit

National Rugby Championship

Year Pos Pld W D L F A +/- BP Pts   Play-offs
2019 7th 7 2 0 5 206 211 –5 3 11   Did not compete
2018 6th 7 2 0 5 239 192 +47 5 13   Did not compete
2017 9th 8 1 0 7 193 357 –164 0 4   Did not compete
2016 4th 7 3 0 4 260 262 −2 4 16   Semi-final loss to NSW Country by 50–24
2015 3rd 8 5 0 3 220 251 −31 0 20   Semi-final loss to UC Vikings by 50–34.
2014 1st 8 8 0 0 399 184 +215 8 40   Semi-final loss to Perth Spirit by 29–45.

Australian Rugby Championship (Rebels)

Year Pos Pld W D L F A +/- BP Pts   Play-offs
2007 4th 8 5 0 3 170 206 -36 4 24   Runners-up

Head coachesEdit




See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e "NRC update part 1: Queensland, Perth, Melbourne and Canberra". The Roar. 8 July 2014. Archived from the original on 8 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Rising season ticket". Melbourne Rebels. 2014. Archived from the original on 4 July 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014.
  3. ^ Harris, Bret (24 March 2014). "ARU announces national club competition". The Australian. News. Archived from the original on 25 March 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Australia relaunches National Rugby Championship". 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  5. ^ "Rebels sign son of a gun Tyrel Lomax" (Press release). Melbourne Rebels. 19 July 2016. Archived from the original on 19 July 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  6. ^ Fuller, Mark (11 December 2004). "Picking up our ball and going home". The Age. Fairfax. Archived from the original on 13 December 2004. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  7. ^ "2006 Annual Report: Rugby services" (PDF). Australian Rugby Union. 31 May 2006. p. 47. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  8. ^ "New national rugby competition for 2007". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. 31 May 2006. Archived from the original on 22 June 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  9. ^ "New national rugby comp for 2007". Retrieved 3 March 2006.[dead link]
  10. ^ a b Donaghy, Dave (29 March 2007). "Rebels show true colours". Herald Sun. News Limited. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  11. ^ a b "Melbourne Rebels on the rugby march". Sports Australia. 29 March 2007. Archived from the original on 1 May 2013. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  12. ^ "Victorian Rugby appoints Millard and Dyson to key coaching positions". 11 November 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  13. ^ Hill, Craig (3 August 2007). "The ARC Vic Team: Melbourne Rebels". Rucks and Rolls. Archived from the original on 8 November 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2007.
  14. ^ "Croft named Rebels captain".
  15. ^ "Melbourne Rebels Update". 3 August 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 9 August 2007.
  16. ^ "Meet the AAMI Melbourne Rebels Squad". Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 9 August 2007.
  17. ^ "ARU pull plug on Australian Rugby Championship". ESPN Scrum. 18 December 2007. Archived from the original on 12 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  18. ^ Orme, Steve (10 December 2013). "ARU unveils new national rugby championship for 2014". Sportal. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  19. ^ Horne, Ben (24 March 2014). "Bill Pulver says National Rugby Championship will make money". Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  20. ^ "Australian Rugby Union says National Rugby Championship to start in August". ABC. 24 March 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  21. ^ "Melbourne Rising fixture announced" (Press release). Rising Media Unit. 16 July 2014. Archived from the original on 11 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  22. ^ "Melbourne Rising announce coaching setup" (Press release). Melbourne Rebels. 19 June 2014. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014.
  23. ^ "Stirzaker to lead Melbourne Rising" (Press release). Rising Media Unit. 11 August 2014. Archived from the original on 11 August 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
  24. ^ "NRC 2019 draw: lunch-time starts, 50-22 kicks, goal-line drop outs and all matches LIVE on". (Press release). 31 July 2019. Retrieved 31 July 2019.
  25. ^ "Rising to play at AAMI Park". 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  26. ^ "Melbourne Rectangular Stadium". Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
  27. ^ Newman, Beth (29 June 2016). "Tries more valuable in new NRC". Australian Rugby. Archived from the original on 2 July 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  28. ^ a b "NRC 2019 squad announcement: Rising load up on local talent". Melbourne Rebels. 14 August 2019. Archived from the original on 14 August 2019.
  29. ^ "NRC Team Hub: All the teams, kick-off times and broadcast info for Round 4". 9 September 2019.
  30. ^ "NRC Team Hub - Round One: All the teams, times and stream details". 29 August 2019.
  31. ^ "Pom Simona Revealed as Rising Head Coach". Melbourne Rebels. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  32. ^ "Tupou to lead Rising for 2019". Melbourne Rebels. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
  33. ^ "2018 Rising squad Announced". Melbourne Rebels. 24 August 2018.[dead link]
  34. ^ Rising name young squad for 2017 NRC. Melbourne Rebels. 15 August 2017.
  36. ^ 2015 Melbourne Rising squad announced
  37. ^ Melbourne Rising announce playing squad
  38. ^ Qantas Wallabies player alignments unveiled for 2014 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship

External linksEdit