There was an air of inevitably around Melbourne on Saturday night as the Rebel’s hosted the Crusaders. Even with several key individuals rested, it seemed, both prior to kick off, and for the first 50-odd minutes of the game, that the result was a fore-gone conclusion, and that eventually the Crusaders would kick clear of their feisty hosts.
Someone forgot to hand the Rebels the script though, and after trailing 19-10 at the break, the home team chipped away through the boot of Kurtley Beale, before unleashing a five minute raid which yielded two tries, and lead them to an historic 28-19 victory.
The win, Melbourne’s third over Kiwi opposition this season, continues to break down their reputation as perennial easy-beats, while for the Crusaders, their second poor performance in a row may signal problems for the Christchurch based side.
While all teams go through peaks and troughs throughout a season, the Crusaders have been notoriously good at managing those troughs, and ensuring that the peaks come at the business end of the competition. However, this year, a form slump seems to be hitting them at exactly the wrong time, and next week’s clash against the embattled Blues could be season-defining.