Rebels departure impacts academy

Melton Secondary College's academy team (blue) and Narre Warren South (yellow) faced off for the Rebels Shield (supplied: Academy Movement).

Eddie Russell

The ripple effect of discontinuing Super Rugby club Melbourne Rebels will be felt as far as Melton.

The Melbourne Rebels support Academy Movement, an organisation which sets up elite sporting programs in schools to help students from underprivileged backgrounds engage with education.

Melton Secondary College is home to the first academy, which started three years ago and focuses on rugby union.

Founder and director of Academy Movement, Jimmy Orange, said that the disbanding of the club will likely impact future projects.

“We had some pretty big plans in the future which are in doubt now with the Rebels’ licence being taken away,” he said.

“It was a team that was continuing to try and grow community presence and it’s tough to see them pulled away from that.”

Mr Orange said the partnership with Melbourne Rebels was a major source of inspiration for students.

“There’s obviously a massive sense of pride for kids to get to wear the logo of a professional team.”

A key focus of the program is to explore the scope of careers that can be enjoyed in sport.

Mr Orange said it was this “point of difference” which helps students look forward to life beyond school.

“We have gone on excursions to AAMI Park to not only see the players up close, but more importantly, spend the day meeting people behind the scenes.”

These behind-the-scenes operators included gameday managers, strength and conditioning coaches, performance analysts, and even CEOs.

Mr Orange said these experiences translate to the classroom and are helping students shape a better future for themselves.

“Record numbers of year 12s from Pacific backgrounds are graduating from VCE pathways and now looking at tertiary education,” he said.

“Rugby union values respect and discipline and that is sometimes what our students need to engage in school and become better students overall.”