TAC Cup preview: GWV Rebels

GREATER Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels finished eleventh overall last season, avoiding the wooden spoon but also missing finals. The Rebels were competitive through most matches, with often one quarter of lost concentration costing them in tight games. They were not without their moments however, fighting back from a 43-point deficit against Murray Bushrangers at three quarter time late in the season to record a memorable win with a last quarter surge. It is unlikely to be a game forgotten anytime soon.

In 2018, the Rebels have a number of top-end prospects who are likely to form a strong nucleus in the midfield. Thomas Berry is one of the Rebels’ top talents, with the brother of Brisbane’s Jarrod hoping to overcome the injuries which plagued him in 2017. The rugged inside midfielder is a damaging player who spreads well and looks to break through opposition teams, while laying bone-crunching tackles. If he can tidy up his disposal further, he will be one to keep an eye on this year. Likewise, other smaller prospects include Matty Lloyd and Scott Carlin, both of whom have sublime skills when given time and space. Both predominantly played in defence last season so a natural midfield progression is expected in 2018.

On the tall end of the scale, ruck/forward Tylar Watts began to really come into his own late in the season, taking contested marks and presenting inside 50 after resting from his ruck duties. With another pre-season behind him, Watts could develop into the Rebels’ focal point up forward and do some serious damage in 2018. Others to keep an eye on include the dangerous Jed Hill and Charlie Wilson, as well as the likes of Matt Schnerring (11 games), Josh Chatfield (eight), Elliot Lamb (eight) Angus Gove (seven), Lochie Dawson (seven) and Joel O’Connell (five) – all of whom tasted some TAC Cup action last season. Remarkably, the Rebels do not have a 19 year-old on their list, a rare sight for the TAC Cup competition, but also indicating the strength of their bottom-agers and what they could do in 2019.

2017 Stats:

2017 Summary:

Last season the Rebels started slowly with three straight losses before huge back-to-back wins over the Calder Cannons and Eastern Ranges got them back on track. The next nine games did not make for pretty reading for the Rebels, dropping seven of them while sharing the spoils with the Northern Knights. A win over the Western Jets was the only celebration in that time. An improved effort in the final month saw the Rebels spoil the Bushrangers’ party by a goal in the famous comeback, while also knocking off a full-strength Bendigo Pioneers in the final round. A devastating 21-point defeat at the hands of Calder Cannons at home ultimately cost the Rebels a place in the finals series, although it was always going to be tough after the mid-season drop-off.

2018 Snapshot:

In 2018 the Rebels’ bottom-age players that have returned will be raring to improve on their 2017 efforts. They yet again have a really young side, and plenty of bottom-agers that are only going to get better as the season goes on. Their midfield should be strong and while their talls are mostly new, having Watts as a target will help. It is hard to judge where the Rebels will finish this season, but with the focus on development, most eyes will be watching how their top prospects develop over the season and how many can land on AFL lists. They start their season with a home game against last year’s wooden spooners Bendigo, before back-to-back baptisms of fire against Geelong Falcons and Dandenong Stingrays in what will be great challenges for the young Rebels side. With seven games at home this season, the Rebels families and friends will get plenty of opportunities to watch their boys in action.

2018 Fixture:

GWV Rebels 2018

2018-03-24 14:00:39March 24, 2018 GWV Rebels vs Bendigo Pioneers67 - 68MARS StadiumRecap
2018-04-01 13:00:12April 1, 2018 Geelong Falcons vs GWV Rebels63 - 96GMHBA StadiumRecap
2018-04-07 12:30:15April 7, 2018 Dandenong Stingrays vs GWV Rebels133 - 35Queen Elizabeth OvalRecap
2018-04-22 13:30:55April 22, 2018 GWV Rebels vs Calder Cannons65 - 83MARS StadiumRecap
2018-04-28 14:00:00April 28, 2018 GWV Rebels vs Murray Bushrangers62 - 79Rams ArenaRecap
2018-05-13 13:00:20May 13, 2018 GWV Rebels vs Oakleigh Chargers64 - 64MARS StadiumRecap
2018-05-19 12:30:49May 19, 2018 GWV Rebels vs Gippsland Power53 - 79Rams ArenaRecap
2018-06-02 14:15:38June 2, 2018 Calder Cannons vs GWV Rebels61 - 71Rams ArenaRecap
2018-06-17 13:00:30June 17, 2018 GWV Rebels vs Northern Knights60 - 64MARS StadiumRecap
2018-06-23 13:00:42June 23, 2018 Dandenong Stingrays vs GWV Rebels106 - 47Shepley OvalRecap
2018-07-08 13:00:10July 8, 2018 Bendigo Pioneers vs GWV Rebels58 - 83Queen Elizabeth OvalRecap
2018-07-15 11:30:10July 15, 2018 GWV Rebels vs Northern Knights61 - 83MARS StadiumRecap
2018-07-28 12:00:22July 28, 2018 Eastern Ranges vs GWV Rebels38 - 91Box Hill City OvalRecap
2018-08-05 14:00:22August 5, 2018 Western Jets vs GWV Rebels80 - 24Burbank OvalRecap
2018-08-18 15:00:44August 18, 2018 GWV Rebels vs Bendigo Pioneers75 - 39MARS StadiumRecap
2018-08-25 14:00:54August 25, 2018 GWV Rebels vs Oakleigh Chargers33 - 123MARS StadiumRecap
2018-09-01 14:00:25September 1, 2018 Northern Knights vs GWV Rebels 14:00:252:00 pmMARS StadiumRecap
2018-09-08 12:00:04September 8, 2018 Dandenong Stingrays vs GWV Rebels 12:00:0412:00 pmIkon ParkRecap

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