The Rebel with a cause
While the results haven’t gone Melbourne’s way Carter Gordon is making the most of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition, playing alongside his idol Matt Toomua.
It wasn’t long ago that 20-year-old Gordon and his younger brother Mason, also signed to the Rebels, were fans posing for photographs with the Wallabies’ star.
Now he’s Toomua’s teammate, talking tactics as Melbourne prepare to meet the Chiefs at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.
It will be Gordon’s third start at flyhalf, with Rebels interim coach Kevin Foote opting to throw the former Australian Under-20 representative in against the powerhouse Kiwi teams.
Gordon said having Toomua, who has 47 Test caps, alongside him at No.12 was like having an on-field coach.
“It is like an on-field coach and we’re good mates off the field and that goes a long way,” Gordon told AAP.
“When I get out there he’s letting me run the show and if I’ve got any questions he’s all ears so it’s really helped me.
“I’ve always liked the way he’s played; Mason and I have always been big fans of ‘Pup’ (Toomua) so it’s pretty surreal to be on the field next to him.”
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After a horror loss to the Blues to open the competition, the Rebels have been building and led the Highlanders early in the second half last round before falling away after a costly yellow card.
The Chiefs will be without their own gun playmaker in Damien McKenzie, who is suspended for a high tackle.
With the Chiefs falling to the Reds following McKenzie’s send-off, Gordon predicted the Waikato side would feel his absence.
“I feel like Damien McKenzie is a big loss for them,” he said.
“I don’t think there are too many people who can fill his shoes but with or without him we’re just focusing on our game and trying to make sure we do everything we can to win.”
Meanwhile, the Rebels’ final-round game on June 12 against the Crusaders is also set to be relocated from Melbourne to Sydney with the lockdown continuing in their home city for another week.
Their matches against the Highlanders and Chiefs were switched to Sydney due to travel restrictions on the Melbourne side.