Melbourne Rebels recruit Marika Koroibete.
Melbourne Rebels recruit Marika Koroibete. Daniel Pockett

Koroibete fit for round one debut

CODE-HOPPER Marika Koroibete is gunning for a round one Super Rugby debut with the Melbourne Rebels next week after overcoming a minor knee injury.

And Rebels coach Tony McGahan has confirmed that his club will change is game plan in 2017 to make the most of the explosive talents of the former Melbourne Storm winger.

Koroibete played union for his school in Fiji before switching to league, playing 16 games for the Wests Tigers and 58 in three seasons for the Storm, scoring 34 tries.

Having crossed from the NRL at the end of last season, Koroibete was reintroduced to union on the Wallabies five-week European Spring Tour at the end of last year, where he played one game against the French Barbarians.

The knee injury suffered in training ruled the 24-year-old out of the Rebels' two trial games as well as the Rugby Tens event in Brisbane last week.

But McGahan is confident his charge will be right to take on Auckland at AAMI Park on Thursday night.

"He's fine, we expect him to be available," McGahan said.

"He's had a really good couple of weeks of training, he had five weeks on the Wallaby tour to get some exposure, so it's not as if he's just had two weeks of pre-season.

"All the things that are great strengths of his we just want him to continue on with.

"We'll tidy up a few little areas in the background, with the kicking and the positional things. But those things are even there for players who have played rugby for all of their lives.

"All in all we're just focusing on the things that we know he will bring. That's carrying, tackling, excitement, scoring tries."

Koroibete was one of the quickest players in the NRL.

In combination with fellow Fijian-born winger Sefa Naivalu, the Rebels possess what could be one of the most dynamic backlines seen in Super Rugby.

And so McGahan conceded it was fair to say his side's game would evolve to make the most of the talents of its most high-profile off-season recruit.

"We've been a side that's most probably gone through long phases of attack to get the ball over the line," he said.

"We understand that then the chances of making a mistake, being at the mercy of refereeing interpretation or just not getting it right are higher.

"Super Rugby is about zero to four or five phases and then being able to strike and score and that's what we're aiming to do.

"We think that we've got some different players engaged in that that will then evolve our game style as well."

News Corp Australia

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