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MX News Update 2024

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Rebels are desperate for Reds to clinch the Super Final

While Melbourne’s off-field future remains in doubt, the Rebels are desperate to break their losing streak to ensure they play in the Super Rugby Pacific finals for the first time.

The Rebels have lost their last two games and on Friday evening they will face an excited Queensland side, buoyed by a rare victory over the Crusaders in the final round of Christchurch, at Suncorp Stadium.

Watch every Super Rugby Pacific match LIVE, ad-free and on demand on Stan Sport.

Melbourne are in sixth place, one behind the Reds, but have a torrid run home against the Chiefs (4th), Brumbies (3rd) and an always challenging away match with Fiji (8th).

They have lost to the Reds in seven of the past eight meetings, but managed a six-point win in Melbourne last year.

Young Rebels lock Josh Canham said his team would approach Queensland with confidence after a strong performance against the highly rated Blues last time out until a late outburst.

“At the moment we’re taking it one game at a time, so all our focus right now is on the Reds and winning this game. If we do that, we’ll be in good stead for the final,” Canham said.

The lineout was a weapon for both teams, with Reds co-captain Liam Wright taking the most in the competition, followed by Canham.

“They’re quite skilful, they’re good over the ball and they’ve got a good lineout,” Canham said.

“If we put pressure on their lineout this week and get our contact areas right it should be a good game for us.”

Canham had the best game of his career against the Blues and credited former Red Lukhan Salakaia-Loto for setting the standard for the Rebels this season.

Taniela Tupou, Alex Mafi and Sam Talakai have all joined Salakaia-Loto in switching from Queensland to the Rebels.

Salakaia-Loto, a top prospect for a Wallabies recall, will miss the match after undergoing foot surgery.

“He leads by example when he plays and doesn’t take a step back,” said the 23-year-old Canham.

“He still gives us input since he was injured and we listen to him where we can.

“Missing him has given me the opportunity to get more involved… to try to fill his shoes.”

Rugby Australia’s decision on the future of the debt-ridden Rebels continues to drag on, but Melbourne product Canham hoped the club could continue beyond this season to give other Victorian players a team to play for.

He said the current Rebels, including skipper Rob Leota and hooker Jordan Uelese, had made an impression growing up and playing local rugby.

“They set the standard for me so I can get through it,” he said.

“For guys coming through now, they won’t have that if there’s no Rebels next year.

“Hopefully it can be resolved because there is a lot of talent coming to Melbourne.”