Rebels appoint Haylett-Petty captain

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    09 Feb 2019     Getty Images

The side undertook a wide selection process before making their choice to replace Adam Coleman as leader.

Coach David Wessels said, "Dane was an obvious choice for captain. Everyone here at the Rebels really values his leadership abilities and I think he will make a great skipper for our side.

"I'm conscious of the fact that we have quite a lot of players with captaincy experience, both at Super Rugby and international level. That's a real positive for us; having plenty of leaders who can drive change within the organisation. Dane is wise enough to lean on those guys for advice when he sees fit," he said.

Haylett-Petty said he was thrilled about the chance to lead the side.

"I loved my first year here in Melbourne and I can feel we are building something special with the group we have.

"I am probably not a huge talker but we have such charismatic leaders in the group like Adam Coleman and Willy Genia and Quade [Cooper] who take a lot of responsibility on the field and drive us on the field.

"I have captained teams for a few games but never for a season so it'll be a big challenge. But the most important thing for a rugby team is having a good leadership group and having good leaders around the team to really share the load.

"It's obviously a huge privilege and honour. I was a little bit surprised but I am excited about the opportunity," he said.

It's prompt reward for Haylett-Petty, who migrated from the Force at the end of the 2017 season, to join up with the Rebels, along with 11 others.

It had been a step into the unknown for the group but Haylett-Petty felt they all fitted in quickly considering the short time they had together before the season.

"It was a bit frustrating being in the top eight the whole season and then missing out right at the end.

"But I think this year – [is a] huge opportunity for us to build on that and probably, I think this is definitely the best squad I've been involved with," he said.

There was more balance, depth and promising young players coming through.

"We do have experience everywhere and then we've got the talent of the young kids coming through. I don't think we're feeling any sort of pressure but we do have expectations on ourselves for the season," he said.

Cooper had a positive influence in the side.

"He's the ultimate professional and sets a really good example for the boys and his rugby IQ is amazing – like no one I've played with or met – so just that knowledge he can impart to the group is amazing," he said.

"I'm probably expecting a bit of Quade magic. I'm really excited about seeing Will and Quade, their combination back together. We know how dangerous they were for the Reds."