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Honest Genia primed for season-opener against Brumbies

If all else fails, be honest.

Melbourne Rebels halfback Will Genia has been through enough seasons to know shining it on will eventually see you caught out.

Despite 2019 being a World Cup year, Rebels star Will Genia is remaining focused on the Super Rugby season.Credit:AAP

When it comes to the 2019 Rebels, honesty, accountability and discipline should be front and centre as the team looks to shed years of disappointment and make the finals.

This year's team has the talent, and after the chaos of last year's mass changes, this year they know each other better and know their club better too.

But the 31-year-old also knows this year has more pitfalls than usual, as it's a Rugby World Cup year and all of his teammates will be dreaming of ways to make the big tournament.

Genia said he doesn't give the World Cup much thought and he will encourage his teammates to keep their focus on this Friday's Super Rugby season-opener against the ACT Brumbies in Canberra.

"It's just an individual thing and the last couple of World Cups that I've been to, in the year you don't focus too much on it, you just focus on where you are at," Genia said.

"I know it's cliche, but that's genuinely my focus. We have a game this Friday, just worry about that."

Just as he did last year, Genia hasn't played during pre-season, but he plans to play the full game.

"I'm thinking 80 minutes," Genia said.

"I didn't play a pre-season game last year either. I had injuries last year but this year is just about managing workload and things like that.

"I feel in good shape. The ultimate test will be when I get out there, see if I'm alright, but I think I'll be alright."

The veteran halfback was honest about not having watched the Rebels trial game with the Brumbies either, but the players expect to see plenty of video this week.

"I actually didn't watch, which is pretty bad – I'm just being honest," Genia said.

"The Brumbies are talking about wanting to expand their game, play more running rugby, and they have the players to do it like Tom Banks, Tevita Kuridrani and Henry Speight, and a world-class forward pack. Essentially it's a Wallabies forward pack.

"They will have the tools to do it but under pressure if things don't go their way they can revert back to their strength of being physical and dominating the set-piece, so we certainly have a big challenge on our hands."

Former Reds teammates Will Genia and new Rebels recruit Quade Cooper will look to ‘create some magic’ together. Credit:AP

Many rugby observers are projecting the Rebels as the winners of the Australian conference despite the NSW Waratahs boosting multimillion-dollar Wallabies Israel Folau and Michael Hooper, and the Brumbies being strong across the board.

"We really want to play with speed this year, there has been a huge emphasis on fitness and conditioning work," Genia said.

"The guys are in pretty good shape and we just need to do it under pressure now in round one."

Much of the title talk stems from the signing of five-eighth Quade Cooper, who was exiled to club rugby in Brisbane last season by Queensland coach Brad Thorn.

Genia and Cooper haven't played together in a couple of years but still fit well together.

"I'm 31 now, he's 30, so we are definitely a lot older, but we'll try to create some magic," Genia said.

"We know each other's game inside out, we've known each other for a long time. To be honest it's more a case of fitting into the structure of how we want to play as a team.

"We have a specific game plan heading into the Brumbies game with how we want to play, so it's about doing our jobs within that system."

Genia couldn't cover a laugh at the suggestion Cooper was the "missing link" at the Rebels – that term was long the nickname for Victorian-raised Wallabies forward Ewen McKenzie, who coached both players.

The nickname "Link" was a playful reference to McKenzie being a missing link between human and primate.

"Like Ewen McKenzie the missing link?" Genia asked with a smile.

"A little bit. Yeah. That was the one position last year where we didn't have the depth or a traditional player in that position. To an extent he is the missing link."

The Rebels face ACT Brumbies in Canberra on Friday at 7.45pm AEDT.

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