The ACT Brumbies are hopefully a reconnection with the area can act as another key step towards galvanizing support in the region heading forward.
The club announced on Monday they would return ‘ACT’ to the name of their Super Rugby, Super W and Junior Representative sides.
Purchase your tickets for the O’Reilly Cup and the Rugby Championship
It may come as a shock to many that the club hasn’t been officially referred to as the ‘ACT Brumbies’ since 2004, a move made after the transition towards becoming ACT and Southern NSW Rugby Union to reflect the wide-ranging support of the team.
However, the decision to go back to the past has been in the pipeline for some time, with the proposal unanimously backed by fans in 2019 during a members and supporters survey.
With COVID putting a delay on these plans, the club believe this is the perfect time to adopt the moniker for the future as they look to reconnect with a lapsed community and fan base.
“It’s something we’ve been considering for a while,” ACT Brumbies CEO Phil Thomson told reporters.
“There’s no hiding from the struggles we’ve had with numbers at the stadium. We believe bringing the ACT back into the name will help us continue to drive that connection with the community and get people to have ownership of the team and want to support it at GIO Stadium.
“…ACT will always be home for the Brumbies and I think we can’t look back on why the decision was made, all we can do is look forward to what we can do with this decision we’ve made.
“We’ll continue to have those strong connections with Southern Inland to the South Coast and Monaro, we’ll continue to look after those areas and service those areas. They’ll still be supporting the Brumbies and we’ll ensure they’ll still have our undivided attention.
The decision comes at a landmark period for the club, welcoming back club legend and local boy Stephen Larkham to the helm as coach.
He believes the decision creates further identity and connection for fans and player alike as they push for higher honors on the national and international stage.
“I think it’s exciting,” Larkham added. “As a young Rugby player growing up in Canberra, it was always a dream to represent ACT.
“I actually lived on a farm just over the border towards Yass in NSW but firmly call the ACT home and I think that’s what the supporters that we get from the regional areas believe as well. They’re supporting the team but I think first and foremost, this has been a team from the ACT that’s represented it on the world stage.
“I think having the name change to the ACT is going to bring a focus to the players as well as the community, letting everyone know this is an ACT team representing this region on the world stage.”