Andrew Kellaway may have hit Super Rugby running but the Melbourne Rebels need to quickly get up to speed or feel the brunt of the Australian conference pace-setting Brumbies on Friday night.
After 25 games for NSW Waratahs, Kellaway played a season in the UK and had a stint in New Zealand in 2019 before he returned to Super Rugby last week in Rebels colours.
Scoring an impressive individual try, the 24-year-old winger was one of a few bright lights in a lacklustre Melbourne outfit that lost 36-27 to the Sunwolves, who only assembled three weeks ago.
While the Rebels fielded eight new faces, they also had a Wallabies-laden backline that was outpaced by the rampant Japanese-based franchise.
Kellaway said that life won’t get easier against the Brumbies, who opened with a win over Queensland Reds and boast size as well as speed among their backs in the form of Tevita Kuridrani, Irae Simone, Tom Banks and Solomone Kata.
“There’s some big bodies there but not much changes for us,” Kellaway said.
“We’re doing our best to stay focused on what we can do internally and how we present, but you’ve got to respect those guys so we will have some things in place to deal with them.”
After making the finals last year, the Brumbies are looking to again assert their dominance on the Australian conference while the Rebels are still seeking their maiden play-off spot after another disappointing season.
Kellaway, a former Australian under 20s captain who played 25 times for the Waratahs, said Melbourne had identified their attacking breakdown, defence and attacking width as areas they needed to improve before the Canberra Stadium clash.
“The Brumbies have been the benchmark for a little while now so it’s going to be tough day for us,” Kellaway said.
“Up front in particular, we’re going to have our work cut out for us but it’s the first Australian derby of the year and the boys are ready for it.”
Despite Melbourne’s week one defeat, Kellaway said he enjoyed getting back into Super Rugby.
“I was super stoked to be back playing Super Rugby and to get another chance in this competition,” he said.
“It was a disappointing way to start back but the competition has only gotten better.”