All change at the Rebels

Date published: April 15 2013

The Rebels have revealed sweeping changes to their franchise, with a new CEO, possible coach and Wallaby scrum-half joining them.

The Rebels have revealed impending sweeping changes to their franchise, with a new CEO, possible head coach and Wallaby scrum-half joining them.

Rebels' chairman, Harold Mitchell AM, made a series of announcements regarding fresh player signings and football department appointments.

37 Test Wallaby, Luke Burgess, is returning to the city that kick started his professional rugby career. Burgess was identified by Rod Macqueen as the perfect young half-back for the original Melbourne Rebels, who were runners up in the short lived Australian Rugby Championship (ARC) in 2007. In fact, Burgess scored the Rebels' first ever try, when the Rebels won their first game in Round One of the ARC.

Burgess, who has played for legendary Toulouse in the Top 14 for the past two seasons, has signed a three-year contract with the Rebels from 2014, and is expected to return to Australia at the end of the French season in May. The timing will see the half-back return home in time to be considered for selection in the upcoming British and Irish Lions tour in June.

“The Club is thrilled that Luke is returning to Australia and has chosen to play in a Rebels jersey for the next three years. Luke has maintained a connection with Melbourne since his time here six years ago and he, his wife Emily, and his young family a re excited about coming back to our wonderful city,” said Mitchell.

Rebels head coach, Damien Hill, said: “Luke brings to the team a wealth of experience, having recently tasted success with Toulouse winning the Top 14.

“With the departure of Nick Phipps the Club needed a quality replacement. Luke will obviously provide this, along with the very promising Nic Stirzaker.”

Meanwhile, Toulouse number nine Burgess added that he was excited about coming back to Australia.

“Sometimes in life things are just meant to happen and I suppose I had always hoped that Rugby would bring me back to Melbourne one day. Now it has, and I can't wait to pull on the Rebels colours again,” he said.

“The 2006 Rebels was one of the happiest rugby experiences of my career. My time in France has been great, but for me and the family it is time to come home. Super Rugby suits my playing style and so does the way the Rebels play. So I know that we are going to do some very good things together.”

In other news from the franchise, former player Cordingley has been appointed to a newly created role of Melbourne Rebels, General Manager, Rugby.

Cordingley, who has been with the Rebels since their first season in 2011, has been Retention and Recruitment Manager since 2012. The former Wallaby half-back has also been part of the Rebel Rising and Elite Pathway programs.

In his new role, Cordingley will have responsibility for the Rebels' football department, as well as maintaining his current responsibilities for retention and recruitment. Cordingley, who currently resides in Brisbane, will take up his new role immediately.

The board of the Melbourne Rebels has also elected to undergo a process for the appointment of the Club's head coach for 2014 and beyond. Head coach Damien Hill's two-year contract finishes at the end of this season.

“Damien has been advised of the board's decision that his current contract will not be automatically extended. Damien has also been advised that the board would welcome his application for the coaching role in 2014 and has indicated at this point in time he intends to do so,” said Rebels CEO, Steven Boland.

“The board will now undergo a process, which will include a specially convened coaching selection panel. The Rebels welcome applications from Australia and internationally. Further details related to the process will be released in due course.”

Elsewhere at the side, Steven Boland, who joined the Club as Deputy CEO in 2010 and took over the CEO role in 2011, has advised the board that he will leave the Club in May.

Following Steven Boland's departure in May, the CEO will be an interim. The board will undertake an extensive search process and appoint a new CEO before the start of the 2014 season.