Rebels back as Aussie conference contender

Oliver Caffrey
Adam Coleman's captaincy has been hailed by Rebels coach Dave Wessels after beating the Brumbies

Melbourne are again a serious contender for Super Rugby's Australian conference after Saturday night's incredible comeback victory.

Staring down the barrel at a sixth straight defeat, the Rebels overcame a 14-point deficit with 20 minutes remaining at GIO Stadium to bury the Brumbies 27-24.

Their fifth win of the season moved them to within a point of the top of the Australian table following the NSW Waratahs' record-breaking capitulation to the Crusaders.

Melbourne will round out the season with a more friendly draw, but the automatic finals spot could be decided when they host the Waratahs on June 29.

The Rebels have failed to make the finals in their eight-season history.

Coach Dave Wessels was not getting carried away with beating the ACT team for the second time this season, but knew his side would take belief from the match.

"I think the last 30 minutes when we had our hands on the ball, we'll take confidence out of that and we're not too far off (our best)," Wessels said.

"When you win you're never as good as you think you are and when you lose you're never as bad, but there's a lot of stuff to work on from that game."

Wessels declared skipper Adam Coleman put in his "best week of captaincy", setting the tone for the famous win.

The 26-year-old knew how important the result was for the Rebels' season.

"It's my first win here in Canberra and where I started playing so it's pretty special to win," Coleman said.

"Getting the win is positive, but we weren't perfect so we're just really pleased with how we defended."