ON A ROLL: Marika Koroibete will be out to steamroll ex-Storm teammate Matt Duffie when the Rebels cross the Tasman to play the Blues in Super Rugby on Saturday.
ON A ROLL: Marika Koroibete will be out to steamroll ex-Storm teammate Matt Duffie when the Rebels cross the Tasman to play the Blues in Super Rugby on Saturday. HAMISH BLAIR

Ex-Storm teammates face-off at Eden Park

MARIKA Koroibete hitting his straps with the Melbourne Rebels would be a terrifying prospect for most opposing wingers.

But at least Blues flyer Matt Duffie knows what's coming.

Saturday's Super Rugby match at Eden Park will be a reunion of sorts when the pair share the same field for the first time since they were Melbourne Storm starting wingers in the 2015 NRL season.

That they're marking each other directly adds another element for Duffie, who was close friends with Koroibete in their former code.

Duffie remembers the pair talking a lot about their school days love of rugby union.

"We'd never say, 'Hey, when are you going to go back?' but it's pretty funny how things work that two years later we were both playing union," he said.

"The thing I know with Marika in either code is once he gets on a roll of confidence he's bloody hard to stop. I saw it first-hand."

Duffie made his All Blacks breakthrough with two midweek appearances in Europe last November.

He was trumped by Koroibete, whose rookie Wallabies season in 2017 comprised eight Tests. One of his four tries came in his lone appearance against the All Blacks - aiding the Wallabies' upset win in Brisbane.

A hat-trick in the Rebels' 40-13 defeat of the Sunwolves last week cemented Koroibete's Australian selection and probable starting berth to face Ireland this month.

Duffie said the 25-year-old had clearly found his feet in the 15-man code and posed multiple threats.

"The longer we play as ex-rugby league players, the more understanding we get," Duffie said.

"I went through it coming back from Storm as well. It took me a while.

"The type of player that he is, you get him in the wide channel one on one, he's going to do a lot of damage."

- AAP

News Corp Australia


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