Labelled Melbourne’s Mr Fix-it, centre Reece Hodge did a job on the Cheetahs in the Rebels’ 36-14 Super Rugby win at AAMI Park.
In his first start in the No.13 jersey following an injury-forced backline reshuffle, Hodge continued his impressive debut season.
The 21-year-old scored a brilliant try in each half on Friday night and helped set up another.
Before the match, Melbourne coach Tony McGahan said Hodge had become the team go-to man to fill various holes.
He might have found a permanent home in the centres, with the Rebels fighting back from a 14-10 halftime deficit to take the much-needed win.
It gives them a chance to stay ahead of Australian conference pace-setters the Brumbies, who host the Crusaders on Sunday.
The Rebels were looking to rebound from a disappointing loss to the Hurricanes at home last round and made a shaky start.
The Cheetahs, who were coming off a record 75-point win over the Sunwolves, drew first blood in the 18th minute with a try to hooker Torsten van Jaarsfeld as they rumbled the ball over the line.
But four minutes later, Hodge sliced through the defence to open Melbourne’s account.
A second Cheetahs try put them ahead at the break but the Rebels made a statement in the opening minute of the second half when lock Lopeti Timani touched down to give his team the lead for the first time.
From then on, the home side dominated with Hodge racing 40m to touch down with 10 minutes to go.
A try after the fulltime siren by Tamati Ellison, whose wife was in labour with their fourth child during the match, capped the win.