MELBOURNE have ended a five-match losing streak with a 27-24 win over the Brumbies in Canberra thanks to a late Reece Hodge penalty goal.
The Brumbies led by 14 points with 20 minutes to go, but with their season on the line, failed to repel the Rebels in front of a dismal GIO Stadium crowd of 5283 on Saturday night.
With the scores level at 24-24 with two minutes remaining, Sam Carter was penalised for a high tackle on Billy Meakes, leaving Hodge with a chance to push the Rebels ahead.
He struck the penalty kick cleanly from the left of the field to win the game for the visitors.
Hodge’s matchwinner came about after fullback Jack Maddocks powered over for the Rebels’ third try in the 61st minute and soon after, winger Semisi Tupou crossed out wide.
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Both tries were converted to level up the game and produce a tense finale, with both teams spoiling several chances to clinch the advantage before Hodge stepped up to calmly slot the penalty.
The Brumbies were looking dominant during a 15-minute golden patch in the first half where they ran in three converted tries to Tom Cusack, Faalelei Sione and Rob Valetini.
That came about after the Rebels opened the scoring through a stunning try to Tom English, who got on the end of a tackle-shredding run from Angus Cottrell.
The Brumbies’ fourth consecutive loss rules out any hope they had of making the finals as they sit 14th on the overall ladder, only ahead of the Sunwolves.
REBELS 27 (Tom English 2, Jack Maddocks, Semisi Tupou tries; Reece Hodge 2 con, pen) BRUMBIES 24 (Thomas Cusack, Faalelei Sione, Rob Valetini tries; Wharenui Hawera 3 con, pen)