Rebels’ Gordon to embrace Suncorp return

Murray Wenzel |

Carter Gordon has invited his former teammates to have a go at him when the Melbourne Rebels playmaker returns home to face the Queensland Reds for the first time.

The 21-year-old will wear the No.10 against the Reds in their Super Rugby Pacific opener on Saturday night, having cut his teeth in the Reds’ development system before shifting south last year.

He impressed in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman after a mid-season debut against the Waratahs but will return in 2022 bulked up and prepared for the inevitable banter.

“I hope so, I wouldn’t expect anything less from them,” Gordon said.

“I have a lot of mates in that team, I hope they come out and try and do that because I know it won’t affect me and … hopefully I can get under their skin a little bit.

“Moving down to Melbourne was a change in the path I saw myself going, but I’m very excited to getting back onto Suncorp.”

New South African-born Rebels coach Kevin Foote and attack coach Ryan Martin have encouraged Gordon to run a precise, upbeat game style that could catch last season’s Super Rugby AU champions out.

“It’s what people are so drawn to it, the style and speed (of Super Rugby),” Foote said.

“Often people think (it’s about being) fast, but it’s actually execution.

“I’m super confident (in Gordon) he’s getting better and better, bulked up a lot and he’s disciplined in his trade.”

Foote said the club’s made a conscious effort to develop depth which will be tested early with Wallabies duo Andrew Kellaway (foot) and Rob Leota (hamstring) as well as Test hopefuls Pone Fa’amausili and Trevor Hosea (hamstring) likely to miss three, four, one and 12 weeks respectively.

Matt Toomua has recovered from the concussion issues that plagued him last year to start alongside protege Gordon at No.12.