June 16, 2019
Sports

Longest-serving Rebel aims to tick “bucket list” by making first final

As the longest serving Melbourne Rebels player, no one wants to see the club make their first finals appearance more than Tom English.

The 28-year-old joined the Rebels late in 2012 moving from Sydney to Melbourne and embracing life with an expansion side.

Every season the club has taken aim at making the finals and fallen short including last season where they fell a point short of the top eight.

Tom English will start in his favoured role at outside centre on Friday night against the Chiefs.

Tom English will start in his favoured role at outside centre on Friday night against the Chiefs.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

The Rebels have their destiny in their own hands on Friday night when they take on the Chiefs at AAMI Park, if they win, they are in while the Waikato-based visitors must win to have any chance at making the top eight.

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"It would be exciting and such a special thing to make the finals," English said on Thursday.

"It's been frustrating. It's been heart-breaking sometimes as you spend so much of your year invested in this one goal.

"We will look to make amends this time around."

English will start in his favoured role at outside centre on Friday night with coach Dave Wessels looking to add his experience to the starting team and after coming off the bench for several late-season games, English was hoping he would start.

"It is really good, it's a whole different game to come off the bench, it's a different kind of beast," English said.

"This week I get to start in the position I enjoy most, No.13, so I can't wait."

The Rebels took a blow to their self-confidence losing 66-0 to title favourites Crusaders in Christchurch last round, but English believes his side has bounced back and know they match-up much better against the Chiefs who play an up-tempo, attacking game.

"It does hurt you on a personal and team level but we don't have the luxury to dwell on that," English said.

"The fact of the matter is we need to win this game."

English has seen countless teammates come and go during his time, but the one he knows best will be playing for the Chiefs on Friday in five-eighth Jack Debreczeni who was at the club for several years before moving onto the Chiefs during the off-season.

English and Debreczeni were groomsmen at each other's wedding and it will be a bitter-sweet occasion when they meet as competitors for the first time.

"Jack is a great kicker and when he gets going he can be anything and we also have to keep looking out for him and Bryn Hall who is one of the form half-backs in the competition," English said.

"Hall is a running half-back so we have to keep our eyes on him so we don't get caught with our pants down.

"I'm best friends with Jack, so it will be different.

"I'm really happy for him. He's a quality player but he's struggleRead More – Source

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