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Member of the Order of Australia (AM) - Australia Day 2012

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Rebels land a leader - Mortlock heading South

THE Melbourne Rebels now have a captain after former Wallabies skipper Stirling Mortlock yesterday agreed to join the franchise.

Mortlock, 32, who has been linked with the Rebels for many weeks, has signed for three seasons, but it is understood the Australian Rugby Union will only provide a top-up to his contract next season - a World Cup year.

The Rebels have been eager to find a major Australian figurehead to lead their campaign, and have found it with Mortlock, who is one of the few Australian players involved in the Super 14 who has had previous links with their head coach Rod Macqueen.

Mortlock, who will be leaving the Brumbies after 13 seasons, began his Test career in 2000 when Macqueen was Wallabies coach. He is bound to be used as a major recruiting agent for the Rebels, who are gradually luring players.