Rebels outside Back Lachie Anderson admits he is looking forward to focusing solely on a 15v15 match after a “challenging” experience to fulfill his Olympic Sevens ambitions.
Anderson split his time between the Rebels and Sevens schedule and was eventually selected for the Tokyo squad that finished seventh.
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The 24-year-old admits it was an exhausting experience, both physically and mentally, given the extreme and ‘different’ demands of both formats.
“I think for myself on an individual level last year, having a foot in both camps with the Sevens and being here full time was pretty tough mentally and physically,” he said. Rugby.com.au.
“It’s quite challenging to be in both formats of the game, when I think they’re very different these days.
“It is huge for me to secure my short-term future here in Melbourne. I know where my home will be in the years to come, so I’m really excited to continue learning and growing here in Melbourne.
“To be fully focused in the coming years on what lies ahead, it’s only going to help and what builds and leads the club. It’s nice to know that I want to be a part of that and potentially be a part of the rebels winning their first Super Rugby title.
“I have really enjoyed having another full pre-season under my belt, fully focused, knowing what I need to work on as a player to grow and enjoy what the 15s side of things has to offer.”
With his future in Melbourne until 2023, Anderson was keen to pick the brains of returning Wallabies Andrew Kellaway and Reece Hodge, while cementing his spot in a strong back three for the Rebels.
“As a club we are very lucky to have Hodgey and (Andrew) Kellaway come back from great Wallabies seasons. They came back and shared their experiences with us and while it’s about building combinations, it’s also about building depth and challenging each other,” he says.
“Those two are clearly in our back three, but we have great depth there in Glen Vaihu, Joe Pincus, Illy Vudogo, who are some great athletes and will play a big part in that part of this year. Our job in training is to keep pushing them too. When you grow that competition and depth, it lifts the whole team.
“Those guys are world class players so we are lucky to have them in Melbourne and have those guys in the room as you do your analysis with all the experience they have between them helps someone like me grow as a player and speeds up that process.
“You look at someone like Hodge and he is the ultimate professional as he prepares for training, matches and in his spare time when no one is looking, he sets an excellent example.
“You then have Kells who has played rugby in four different countries, he has plenty of experience, so racking his brains about how he sees the game is completely different to Reece.”
After a tough and longer preseason block than usual, the Rebels made the unique decision to schedule a trial against the Waratahs just days before the Christmas break, ultimately leaving them with 35-14 victors.
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Anderson suggests the decision was a huge one for a squad that is still looking to experiment with their game plan under a new coaching staff, including new offensive coach Ryan Martin.
“The trial of the Waratahs was huge for us,” he added.
“If you have a longer block of training you can fall into your rhythm of weekly training, but for us we got a new attack coach in Ryan Martin who has implemented many of our structures and our key points in attack where we need to for that process. worked on it for 12 weeks.
“It really gave us a chance to use a lot of those structures and see what works and what doesn’t, and give a lot of guys who have been training hard for weeks now, valuable minutes.
“I think this year in particular will be testing the depth of everyone, so a game like the one in the early days of the pre-season block that you get a lot out of… we used that as a great tool for Christmas.”