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Rebels build roster

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Sportal.co.nz     10 Jun 2010     Getty Images

The 28-year-old Gerrard made his Super debut with the Waratahs in 2002 and moved to the Brumbies the following year. He opted to join Japanese club NTT Communications last year when it became evident he did not figure in Wallabies coach Robbie Deans' plans. Gerrard has 79 Super rugby caps and 23 Tests under his belt and is third on the Brumbies' list of all-time point scorers behind fellow Rebel, Stirling Mortlock and Joe Roff. In commenting on his decision to return to Australia, Gerrard said he is excited about the unique opportunity Melbourne presents as he prepares for his tenth Super season. "This is a rare chance to be a part of building something from scratch. I'm honoured to be part of the foundation team and am particularly looking forward to helping grow the game of rugby in Victoria," he said. Assistant Coach Damien Hill was thrilled with the news that arguably the form fullback of Super 14 last year would be joining the Rebels team. "Mark has invaluable Super rugby experience and brings with him insight and understanding of the culture we are building at the Melbourne Rebels." he said. Prop Rodney Blake, who has been plying his trade in France for the last two years at Bayonne, resumes his career in Australia after a Super rugby stint with the Queensland Reds in 2005. A massive individual who reportedly tips the scales at 135kg, Blake has forwards coach Mark Bakewell salivating at the wealth of experience he brings to the budding new team. "From his experience, Rodney returns to Australia with a broader range of skills as well as the desire to be the best player in his position in the country. We believe he can exceed the expectations put on him before he left for France and become a major asset for the Rebels and Australian rugby," he said.