A first-half blitz from the 'Tahs helped cushion their Round One loss to the Reds as they overcame the Rebels 35-19 at AAMI Stadium on Friday.
It was a bonus-point win which came about thanks to two tries from Tom Carter and one apiece from Sekope Kepu and Bernard Foley.
James O'Connor had a relatively quiet debut for the Rebels while Danny Cipriani struggled to rally a backline that sorely missed Kurtley Beale.
The Rebels had opened strongly in their season bow and were soon rewarded when O'Connor knocked over a penalty on four minutes.
But then back came the Waratahs, who remain without Drew Mitchell, Rocky Elsom and Berrick Barnes, as centre Carter hit a perfect line in between Cipriani and O'Connor. The conversion was added by number ten Daniel Halangahu.
O'Connor did bring the scores back to 6-7 and that was how it stayed until the aforementioned 'Tahs purple patch caught the Rebels cold. First, Carter found himself with a simple run over the line in the left corner before a sucker punch from the Sydney outfit just before the break all but put the Super Rugby result beyond doubt.
It came via an unlikely source too as Kepu strolled over, with the extras from Halangahu adding to an earlier penalty shot from full-back Foley. The score was now 21-6 at the break.
The Rebels had yet more defending to do after the half-time interval as the ball was taken from touchline to touchline, ultimately ending up in the hands of left wing Adam Ashley-Cooper, who popped a pass to Foley who in turn stretched over for the vital fourth try.
Mission was accomplished for the Waratahs and despite O'Connor knocking over two more penalties, they lacked enterprise wide out so it came as no surprise that their only try of the game was born from a collapsed maul. Tatafu Polota-Nau was given yellow for the offence.
That gave the Melbourne Rebels the slimmest of hopes of claiming a losing bonus-point from the last remaining fourteen minutes at AAMI Stadium, but a three-pointer from fly-half Halangahu ultimately put the result beyond doubt while tempers continued to boil over.
For Melbourne Rebels:
Pen: O'Connor 4
Tries: Carter 2, Kepu, Foley
Con: Halangahu 3
Pen: Foley, Halangahu
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Mark Gerrard, 14 Lachlan Mitchell, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 James O'Connor, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Gareth Delve (c), 7 Tom Chamberlain, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Hugh Pyle, 4 Adam Byrnes, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Adam Freier, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Rodney Blake, 18 Alister Campbell, 19 Jarrod Saffy, 20 Richard Kingi, 21 Lloyd Johansson, 22 Julian Huxley.
Waratahs: 15 Bernard Foley, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 10 Daniel Halangahu (c), 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Lopeti Timani, 19 Jono Jenkins, 20 Brendan McKibbin, 21 Brackin Karauria-Henry, 22 Nathan Trist.
Referee: Bryce Lawrence