Leading by five points late in the AAMI Park clash, the Rebels’ attack was turned around after a loose Quade Cooper pass.
Winger Marika Koroibete then won a race down field to secure the ball and prevent a Highlanders try.
Wessels said he thought it was the best moment to come out of the 24-19 result, which maintained Melbourne’s unbeaten start to the season and secured their first home win against a New Zealand team in almost four years
“That was the best part of it; us holding on at the end,” Wessels said.
“We threw an intercept and 15 jerseys chased him down and we defended our line, so out of a bad moment, that was the best moment for me.
“It showed a connection and guys care about the team and want to work for each other.”
While the Rebels dominated for a large part of the game, it wasn’t perfect.
Cooper was indicative of that.
He set up two tries but he also pushed some passes that weren’t on.
Wessels defended his playmaker and said rewards come from taking risks.
“Things happen in the game which are 50-50,” Wessels said.
“We want to have a go at different times and it’s not always going to work, and that’s not only for Quade but for the whole team.
“I was really pleased with the way he and Will (Genia) controlled the game.”
Jack Maddocks scored his third try in two games, when he ran on to a brilliant no-look pass from Cooper.
Young Wallabies outside back Maddocks said he was relishing playing outside the mercurial five-eighth.
“One of the special things about Quade is that he’s not a programmed player and you’re always in the game when you’re running off him,” Maddocks said.
“He’s got great vision and great passing skills, so if you get in and around him and find space and he will get you the ball.”
The Rebels next host the Brumbies, who fell to the Hurricanes on Friday night.
World Rugby set for shake up:
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