The Melbourne Rebels are looking to use brains and brawn to dominate Queensland in their Good Friday Super Rugby clash at AAMI Park.
Rebels co-captain Scott Fuglistaller says his team needs to play smarter to crack their first win at home this season, while they have also beefed up their bench.
Melbourne have named a six-two split on the bench for the first time this season, believing they need more punch from their forwards late in the match to finish off the Reds, who have one win.
In a familiar pattern they led the unbeaten Hurricanes at halftime before the match blew out in the final minutes.
The Rebels have dropped outside back Jonah Placid and brought in backrower Jordy Reid.
In other changes, lock Lopeti Timani returns to the run-on side while Paul Alo-Emile will start in place of injured prop Laurie Weeks, with Tim Metcher in line for his Super debut from the bench.
“It’s specific against the Reds,” said Fuglistaller.
“They have a real hard working forward pack and they are going to view it as if they win that forward battle it’s going to go a long way towards winning the game.
“The coaches have taken on the idea that if we have some fresh legs in the forward pack come on with 20 minutes to go that will really give us some good punch, some good impact and push us over the line in that last 20 which is what we need.”
The Kiwi-born flanker said his team couldn’t show more effort in their six games for two wins, but they needed to play with their heads.
“We’ve been playing really, really hard but not smart enough and that’s our biggest thing,” Fuglistaller said.
“Everyone plays with so much heart and runs themselves into the ground every week but it’s about being smarter.”
Queensland have made three changes including Liam Gill, Greg Holmes and Chris Feauai-Sautia.
Code-hopper Karmichael Hunt is on the bench for his first game back from a six-week suspension for cocaine possession.
Hunt said he wanted to redeem himself on the field.
“Absolutely. And I want to play good rugby for myself, too,” Hunt said.
“Sitting out obviously has been disappointing for a lot of people but mostly myself, because it’s not where I want to be.
“I’m excited to be playing the sport I played as a kid and overseas and looking forward to hitting the ground running, building some games and some form.”
Rebels: Mike Harris, Tom English, Tamati Ellison, Mitch Inman, Sefanaia Naivalu, Jack Debreczeni, Nic Stirzaker, Scott Higginbotham, Scott Fuglistaller, Sean McMahon, Lopeti Timani, Luke Jones, Paul Alo-Emile, Pat Leafa, Toby Smith. Res: Tom Sexton, Cruze Ah-Nau, Tim Metcher, Cadeyrn Neville, Colby Fainga’a, Luke Burgess, Jordy Reid, Bryce Hegarty.