MELBOURNE - The Melbourne Rebels created a piece of club history when they overpowered the ACT Brumbies 33-10 in their Super XV rugby clash in Melbourne on Friday.
The bonus-point win ensured the Rebels won their third match in a row, the first time they have opened the season with three victories.
The Rebels have now skipped clear at the top of the Australian conference after also securing bonus-point wins over the Reds and the Sunwolves.
Melbourne, who picked up the bulk of the axed Western Force outfit at the end of last season along with coach Dave Wessels, survived an early test from the Brumbies before finishing far stronger.
The Brumbies opened the scoring through a 10th-minute try to Chance Peni, but that was the last time they had any joy.
Melbourne's impressive No.8 Amanaki Mafi levelled the scores 20 minutes later before Reece Hodge crossed to give the home side a 14-5 lead at the break.
The Brumbies came out full of intent in the second half and got within four points when Henry Speight scored.
But from that point the Rebels dominated and tries to Hodge, Josh Maddocks and Michael Ruru secured the win and the bonus point.
Rebels captain Tom English said the squad was full of confidence after such a blistering start to the season.
"To know that we can do that brings a lot of confidence heading into next week (against the Waratahs)," he said.
"We always know when we play the Brumbies they will bring intensity and physicality.
"The boys showed up tonight and we came away with the bonus point win."