Winger Tom Wright collected a double among the Brumbies’ haul of six as they continued the Super Rugby Pacific misery for Melbourne with a thumping 36-17 victory at AAMI Park.
The Brumbies had four tries before the Rebels scored their first on Friday night to continue their unbeaten start from four games.
Melbourne remain winless – the loss their ninth in succession dating back to last season – in an alarming form slump.
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said he couldn’t complain about the six tries to two victory, nor their early ladder position.
“We don’t want to be at the peak of our game at the moment but what I’m liking is that we’re learning and building and getting better every week,” he said.
“We knew they’d bring plenty of intent and I was really pleased with how we defended.
“It was 15 minutes until we touched the ball and then we put a couple of tries together and I was pleased with how we defended our goal line.”
Newly re-signed Wallabies winger Andrew Kellaway, who had an off-season foot injury, made his first Rebels appearance but he was given few opportunities in their disjointed attack.
They had plenty of ball and territory early in the first half but too often were let down by poor execution.
The Brumbies, meanwhile, made the most of their chances with burly flanker Rob Valetini beating two men and dragging another two across the line for his third try of the season.
The score was 12-0 after 26 minutes when centre Len Ikitau benefited from some good lead-up work by Jesse Mogg and Tom Banks, and flimsy Rebels defence.
The home side wasn’t helped when they lost Glen Vaihu to a yellow card after the young winger took out the legs of a leaping Banks.
While he was off Wright scored the first of his two tries, coming off a floating Nic White pass with the Brumbies taking a 17-3 lead into halftime.
That blew out by another five points at the 42 minute mark after Banks made a long-range break and then kicked ahead with the ball bouncing away from Matt Toomua, with Wright pouncing on his second.
Flanker Jahrome Brown was another to find easy passage to the line.
The Rebels delivered their best try of the season in the 62nd minute, with fleet-footed centre Ray Nu’u sparking the attack before reserve flanker Richard Hardwick found the tryline.
But the Brumbies had the last say, with in-form Banks collecting a perfectly timed pass from James Slipper and charging ahead to score their sixth of the night.
Melbourne coach Kevin Foote said he felt his team started well, although didn’t get the pay they required for their efforts.
“Our attack is coming but our defence upset me a little bit – our first-time tackles aren’t sticking and guys are scoring too easily,” Foote said.
“There’s some definite signs of improvement and some senior guys came back this week which helped with our confidence in difficult times.”