Koroibete aims for payback against Lions after 2019 heartbreak

Melbourne Rebels star Marika Koroibete has a hostile welcome ready for the Lions and their fleet-footed wingers on Saturday night.

Rebels star Marika Koroibete says his side is looking for revenge against the Lions this weekend.Credit:Getty Images

The Rebels and the Lions have had a lively history, especially last season in Johannesburg when the home side rode a 20-1 penalty count to a comeback win after Melbourne led 33-5 early on.

No one on the Rebels has forgotten that loss and Koroibete wants revenge but he also wants his side to show it is fitter and finishing games better this campaign.

"We still hurt about it," Koroibete said.

"What is exciting is we have been playing well for 80 minutes, last year our last 20 minutes we lacked a bit, I think it's from fitness. This year we are building. We want some payback this week."

Both sides have lost experienced players from last season, Koroibete still knows the Lions will have a speedy back line and he wants his side to hit them hard early.

"They have got good footwork, can change direction at speed and [are] very talented but for me, we need to bring aggression to them," Koroibete said.

"Get in their face, keep grinding them and every time we attack the ball, we need to smash them every single time. Hopefully that will bring them down a bit."

The Rebels are coming off a memorable 28-22 win over the Highlanders last round with new winger Andrew Kellaway scoring two of his equal league-best five tries.

Koroibete, who has two tries this season, loves how his side's strong defence is allowing the likes of Kellaway to get the ball after turnovers and break the line.

"He's been driven and you see his contribution to the team – he's a good addition to the side," Koroibete said.

"It's good to see he's got some gas, he got a couple of breakaway tries on the weekend. If we can get some tries out of him that would be good.

"His two tries came from our defence, our line speed and turnovers."

The Rebels (2-3) had a rough start to the season but they are still within reach of the Brumbies (3-1) at the top of the Australian conference.

Koroibete knows if their defence holds steady, they can score enough points to win games.

"We didn't start well but we are getting better every week," Koroibete said.

"Big credit to our defence. It's working well so far and hopefully we can keep it consistent and make the finals this year – but I know it's a long way away."

The Rebels host the Lions at AAMI Park on Saturday at 7.30pm.

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