This year was a shocker for all the Australian teams. The Force had an internal spat and lost key players, the Tahs alienated a fair percentage of their supporters by playing shit rugby, the Reds, well – they were the Reds and the Brumbies season was struck by tragedy.
Although all four teams had poor results season wise, the Brumbies were at least able to produce some inspiring performances and show that with an injection of key talent, 2010 would definitely be a year for growth.
Indeed while all other provinces are wringing their hands and struggling with membership numbers, the Brumbies are flying. Speaking at today’s launch of the team’s 2010 jersey, CEO Andrew Fagan was chuffed with the response from the local community.
“Membership is extremely strong at the moment. We have well over 8,000 members already signed up for next season and we really can’t wait to get started in February.”
Speaking to G&GR earlier this year, Coach Andy Friend highlighted the importance of engaging with the local community as a way of ingraining the Brumbies into the sporting psyche of Canberra. This mantra of engagement with the community is something the Brumbies are looking to build on this season as Fagan explained.
“This is our home, we play for this city, we live here and to have the words Canberra on our jersey will be really well received. The biggest change is the retail jersey will now have the Coat-of-Arms (of Canberra) as well as the Canberra Centenary inscription.
“Our campaign for the year is ‘Stand as one’, and this is the first time in our history we’ve done this and now anyone wearing one of our jersey’s will be able to represent Canberra just like the players do. The players and office staff came up with the idea and we were looking at ways to best represent Canberra and the Coat-of-Arms was what we thought was the best thing to do”
It’s not difficult to be bullish about the Brumbies chances next year as they have managed to cherry-pick the very best talent in Australian rugby. Indeed it is a vote of confidence in the Brumby set-up that the likes of Rocky Elsom, Gits and Googy Harrison have chosen to put their collective shingles out in the Nation’s capital.
It is an astounding fact that the Brumbies will boast this year’s three Wallaby Captains in their line-up in 2010. While this fact is not lost on skipper Stephen Hoiles, he is quick to point out that the Brumbies chances were already heading in the right direction without the big signings
“We’re expecting big things from the side next year, we’ve got some new signings but take-away the new signings I think the squad we had this year (2009) was heading toward something good and we were probably just a game short. I guess with the new signings we are really expecting a big year (2010) for the side.”
In the political hub of the county, Hoiles showed his class by staying on message and, as Fagan had done, pointed to the connection the Brumbies feel with the community and their supporters.
“The best thing about the jersey is the people in the community can go out and buy the same thing we are wearing out on the field so I think everyone really feels as though they belong.
“In Canberra we feel that it’s a smaller community and the supporters are definitely right behind you and win, lose or draw, they are always proud to say they are Brumbies fans”
I reckon with the arsenal of talent assembled in Canberra, the Brumbies community may just feel a little prouder of their team in 2010 than they have in recent seasons.