Lo­max re­leased by Mel­bourne Rebels

Marlborough Express - - SPORT - WAYNE MARTIN

Tyrel Lo­max is now a Tas­man Mako fol­low­ing his of­fi­cial re­lease from the Mel­bourne Rebels.

Tas­man and the High­landers have signed the 21-year-old 127kg prop for the 2019 and 2020 sea­sons, and al­though his Rebels con­tract still had a year to run and he had pre­vi­ously rep­re­sented the Aus­tralian un­der-20 and school­boy na­tional teams, Lo­max is now com­mit­ted to a long-term fu­ture in New Zealand.

How­ever, Lo­max’s hopes of game time had been stymied as he awaited his re­lease from the Rebels, his clear­ance of­fi­cially com­ing through on Fri­day.

Lo­max had been train­ing with Tas­man’s Mitre 10 Cup squad over the past week and news of his re­lease couldn’t have come at a bet­ter time for the Makos who are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some­thing of a prop­ping cri­sis.

Prior to Satur­day’s match with Otago in Dunedin, Siua Halanukonuka (foot) and Ryan Coxon (ribs) were both still on the in­jured list while Kane Hames and Tim Perry were both called up to the All Blacks fol­low­ing a sea­so­nend­ing shoul­der in­jury to Joe Moody.

It meant a start­ing de­but for young Stoke prop Tom Hill at Forsyth Barr Sta­dium, with fel­low tyro Isaac Salmon again start­ing at tight­head in just his first sea­son with the Tas­man side.

Lo­max fi­nally got his start as a sec­ond half sub­sti­tute as Tas­man held on for a con­tro­ver­sial 29-27 win.

Tas­man chief ex­ec­u­tive Tony Lewis said that Lo­max re­ceived a deed of re­lease from both the Aus­tralian Rugby Union and Mel­bourne Rebels on Fri­day which sparked an in­tense process as the union sought an in­ter­na­tional clear­ance, reg­is­ter­ing his con­tract and ful­fill­ing a host of New Zealand Rugby Union pro­to­cols. He was cleared at 9.15pm ahead of a flight south to join his new team mates.

In seek­ing a re­place­ment for South African prop Ross Gelden­huys, who de­cided not to re­turn to Tas­man, Lewis said that the ini­tial plan had been to work with the Crusaders. But with their front row stocks full, Tas­man went with the High­landers.

GETTY IMAGES

Tyrel Lo­max is now of­fi­cially a Tas­man Mako.

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