The 2019 edition of the BuildCorp Super W hasn't been easy for the Alana Thomas-coached Melbourne outfit, but now's the time to watch for a Rebel uprising.
That's the message the former Orange Emus, Forbes and Wallaroos star sent ahead of her Rebels' final-round clash against undefeated reigning champions NSW, at Bathurst's Anne Ashwood Park.
Thomas admitted it wasn't easy to watch her side get absolutely hammered in a triple-figure defeat to Queensland (112-nil) and the suffer another heavy defeat to Em McDonald's ACT Brumbies (69-nil).
She was happy with her side's bounce back effort to push RugbyWA though, even if the Rebels still went down 38-10, and she's hoping they'll build on that against the powerhouse Waratahs.
"That first round really knocked us for six, it certainly wasn't something we could see coming, I don't think anyone could see that scoreline blow out the way it did," she said.
"Then we suffered from that in the Canberra game, just the mental side of things we were still very scarred from [the loss to Queensland].
"When we played WA we just really tried to make it fun and that result was a big turnaround for the girls and I'm expecting a similar sort of performance come Sunday."
Thomas would, naturally, love her Rebels to win at her old Central West stomping ground, but there's simply no denying the Melbourne outfit's status as rank outsiders.
But on the flipside, that means all the pressure rests of the shoulders of Panuara product Grace Hamilton and her NSW side.
"They're undefeated champions and ... they probably haven't played at their best yet. So if we can put pressure on early and really make them have to fight, we are a chance of that pressure really starting to build on them," she said.
"We've got nothing to lose. For us this week will be a measure of how much we have improved and defines our season. That's the key thing this weekend - if we finish on a good note and put in a really good performance and get close to NSW, that will be big win for us.
"It's actually cool to come back to a ground I played on and I am familiar with."
Even if the Rebels can't spring an upset at Ashwood Park, Bathurst Bulldogs' home, Thomas knows better things lie ahead for her young squad.
The experience they have gained playing against Australia's best this year will aid their development.
"We've got a lot of young girls, we don't have that depth of players and we are also competing with one of the most competitive female sports markets that is the AFLW down here," she said.
"We've got to fight for our talent, so we deliberately made the decision to go with a lot of younger girls this year and then build that talent over the next two or three years."
Sunday's Super W blockbuster at Anne Ashwood Park kicks off at 3pm, following a number of curtain-raisers and Central West Rugby Union's season launch.
- MELBOURNE REBELS: TBC
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