La Trobe backs the Melbourne Rebels

The Melbourne Rebels have today unveiled a new back of jersey partner, with La Trobe University committing to be the club’s official higher education partner for a further five years.

La Trobe University’s extended partnership will now see the University’s brand feature across the complete elite Victorian Rugby pathway, including Under 18s; National Rugby Championship; Super-W; and Super Rugby teams.

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said the partnership enriches the experience of La Trobe University students by giving them practical industry experience that supplements theoretical learning.

“I’m excited that there will be increased internship opportunities for La Trobe students to develop their skills and industry experience by being involved across all Melbourne Rebels’ operations,” Professor Dewar said.

“By giving students opportunities to undertake internships during their degree, our partnership with the Rebels provides our students with the chance to develop attributes and skills that will give them the best possible start to a career in the sports industry.”

The internships will support students in a range of disciplines, including sports management; sport and exercise science; journalism; and nutrition, operated under the guidance of both La Trobe and Rebels staff.

Melbourne Rebels CEO, Baden Stephenson, said La Trobe University is an important strategic partner for the Rebels.

“Internally, we constantly speak about how we can improve all aspects of our organisation and performance. Our La Trobe University partnership ensures that higher education remains a focus for our current and emerging playing groups,” Mr Stephenson said.

“We are on a rapid growth cycle as an organisation and we are fortunate to share our journey with La Trobe. It’s important for us to continue to engage their students and staff – who are all eager to be fully integrated into our operations – to allow them an opportunity to gain some real, practical experience which helps their own development and career trajectories.”

La Trobe University Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Development) and Director of La Trobe Sport, Professor Russell Hoye, said the La Trobe-Melbourne Rebels partnership marked an exciting chapter for the University.

“We are proud to be the University of choice for Rugby Union in Victoria,” Professor Hoye said.

“La Trobe students will have continued access to exclusive industry placements; behind the scenes access to one of Australia’s iconic stadiums, AAMI Park; and play a key role in cutting-edge research in rugby high performance.

“When you look at these outcomes, the decision to commit to a renewed, five-year agreement with the Rebels was an easy one to make.”

La Trobe students who excel in their studies will be offered a Melbourne Rebels’ industry-sponsored PhD position, which will continue in the mould of current Rebels Physical Performance Analyst and La Trobe University PhD candidate Rebecca Peek.

While studying a Masters degree at La Trobe, Rebecca was offered an internship with the Melbourne Rebels, which led to her successful career with the club and her PhD.

“My theoretical understanding is clearly built on the foundations of my study with La Trobe University, but it was a real eye opener for me to have the incredible day-to-day experiences that I’ve had working with the Rebels,” Ms Peek said.

“Learning how culture, people, and the overall environment has an impact on outcomes is massive for me as an academic. The Rebels couldn’t have been more welcoming and connected as a club. There’s been so much respect for my role and expertise, and at the same time, I’m learning so much being able to get my hands dirty.”

PHOTO: Melbourne Rebels

Front row: Pam Kappelides (Lecturer Sport Management), Jessica Speers (Nutrition student intern), Faith Masina (Super W), Janita Kareta (Super W), Hope Kareta (Super W), Lisa Mirabella (La Trobe University Alumnus and Rebels Partnership Manager), Utumalefata To'omalatai Atonio Eli (Super W), Rebecca Peek (PHD)

Back row: Iain Gordon (student intern), Brynn O’connor (La Trobe graduate and Rebels staff), Adam Coleman (Super Rugby), Campbell Magnay (Super Rugby), Reece Hodge (Super Rugby), Norman Dimitrijevic (Exercise Science student intern), Sam Wall-Smith (Sport and Leisure Management student intern)

Media contact: Dragana Mrkaja – 0447 508 171 –