Melbourne bound . . . Stirling Mortlock has signed a three-year deal with the Rebels.
Stirling Mortlock will link with mentor Rod Macqueen for the third time in a celebrated career after the former Wallabies captain signed a three-year deal with new Super Rugby team the Melbourne Rebels.
The veteran of 80 Tests has also agreed to extend his international career for another year in the hope of playing in the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.
After 13 successful seasons with the Brumbies - including captaining them to the 2004 Super 12 title - Mortlock, 32, had been toying with the idea of joining an overseas club.
But Macqueen convinced him of the benefits of a shorter move south which is expected to see him made the Rebels foundation Super 15 captain.
"We've got a number of other signings coming up, but we're very happy about signing Stirling," Macqueen told AAP on Wednesday.
"From a personal perspective, I signed Stirling when he first started out with the Brumbies and then with the Wallabies, so it's nice to see him finishing off his career when we're starting up the new franchise in Melbourne.
"It's important to acknowledge that he's done a great job for the Brumbies and the Brumbies have been very good for Stirling.
"The decision for players now at that point of their career is whether they go overseas and make a lot of money.
"But the issue with that is that when they come back they're starting afresh in business.
"He's chosen to stay in Australia with his family and start to assimilate into business and I think it's the right decision."
Mortlock could play either at outside or inside centre for Melbourne, but Macqueen wouldn't be drawn on anointing him as the team's first skipper.
"We're not guaranteeing anyone any positions or the captaincy," he said.
"It will be a matter of when the side comes together, we have to make sure we put the right players together.
"Obviously he's got great leadership ability, he's led his country, but we won't be announcing the captain until next year and we've already got a lot of leaders in the side.
"I'm looking to have an intelligent team and he'll certainly contribute to that."
Macqueen said Mortlock could either see out his three-year contract on field, or move to another role within the organisation in 2013.
Rebels CEO Brian Waldron said that in addition to Mortlock's playing attributes, the alltime Super Rugby record points scorer would provide the start-up franchise with a massive off-field boost.
"In a day and age when the game has lost some of its higher profile names, there's no doubt that Stirling Mortlock's name is synonymous with rugby and success in rugby," he said.
"We think he's a fantastic person to help us grow the brand of the Rebels in this market.
"We'd love to see him be successful for three years, that's what he wants to do."
Mortlock became the Rebels' 10th signing, three days after they secured the services of Welsh No.8 Gareth Delve.
Melbourne's inaugural list also includes English five-eighth Danny Cipriani and rising Queensland prop Laurie Weeks.