Last week the Rebels were forced to relocate from Melbourne to Canberra in the lead-up to their match in the nation’s capital. Their home for the next few weeks is unclear.
The squad has accepted it could be on the road for some time now and the players won’t be happy campers after a tight loss.
Andy Muirhead, Joe Powell and Folau Faingaa crossed early for Brumbies tries to open up a 19-6 half-time lead in a match that lacked the fluency of the Queensland and NSW affair on Friday.
Five-pointers to Jordan Uelese and Dane Haylett-Petty in the space of five minutes got the Rebels back to 24-20. They were in striking distance with 10 minutes remaining when Matt Toomua booted a penalty.
Despite some major scrum issues for the Brumbies – they conceded six penalties as a result – it was Will Miller’s match winner off the back of a driving maul and Noah Lolesio’s clutch conversion that iced the game.
The Rebels’ next fixture against Reds was supposed to be played at AAMI Park in Melbourne but the club announced the game would have to be relocated to NSW.
It is understood a number of options were on the table, including Leichhardt Oval and Campbelltown Stadium, but the Rebels have settled on Brookvale.
One of the main drawcards was the fact Manly are hosting an NRL game against Newcastle at the venue on Sunday, which makes it easier from a broadcasting and health perspective.
The Waratahs have played a handful of matches at Brookvale Oval in the past few years, with 17,111 fans cramming into the ground to watch the men in sky blue take on the Hurricanes in 2018. The Rebels and Waratahs also squared off in a trial at the ground in 2018.
There are plenty of avid rugby supporters in the area and, while ticket availability is yet to be confirmed, up to 3000 fans could be welcomed through the turnstiles.
From there, the Rebels’ movements are yet to be determined but they will be in a strict bubble. They have a bye in round three and, as much as they would like to relocate back to Melbourne to see family, that decision may be made for them by RA and health authorities.
There is some talk of moving the side’s round-four clash against the Waratahs from Melbourne to Sydney, but that is yet to be confirmed.
Speaking after the loss, Rebels captain Dane Haylett-Petty said: “I think the last four or five times we’ve played the Brumbies it’s been a similar story. They’ve got out to a fast start and we’ve come home late. We let ourselves a little bit too much to do there in the end. It was off the back of ill-discipline. It was just too many penalties and a lot we could have done without.”
Tom Decent is a journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald