Melbourne beat the Waratahs 24-10 in wet conditions at AAMI Park on Friday night to get their first win of the season as new signings Andrew Kellaway (two tries) and half-back Ryan Louwrens impressed.
“We have won about 70 per cent of the Australian derby games which we are really proud of but one of the hurdles we haven’t managed to do is to dominate th South African teams in the same way,” Wessels said.
“It’s a massive test.
“Having watched the Sharks quite a bit, they have a lot of World Cup winning Springboks in that team.
“In sport you are never too up, never too down. I want our guys to enjoy this win a little bit but come Monday we will have to work pretty hard because we have a massive challenge next game.”
Melbourne will sweat on the health of Wallabies back Reece Hodge who went off after 19 minutes with a groin injury while hooker Anaru Rangi was withdrawn before half-time with a tight calf and was still limping post-game, although Wessels thinks he could recover quickly.
“Reece is not feeling super confident at the moment, hopefully he is OK but you can never really know until he has a scan,” Wessels said.
Locks Luke Jones, Trevor Hosea and Esei Ha’angana are all battling injuries and were unavailable for the Waratahs match while prop Jermaine Ainsley was a late scratching due to illness.
Jones has battled a tight back since the flight home from Japan in round one and they expect Ainsley to be fit next round.
Rebels captain Dane Haylett-Petty continued his exceptional start to this season with another assured defensive performance including setting up Kellaway for the try with sealed the win.
The Rebels may have started poorly this season but the Wallabies back sees a side working hard and showing more maturity and comfort with each other.
He hopes that translates to another win when they head to Ballarat next round.
“It’s good reward tonight,” Haylett-Petty said. “When things don’t go your way you have to stick at it.”
The Rebels host Durban Sharks at Mars Stadium, Ballarat next Saturday at 2.45pm.
Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.