THE ACT Brumbies Super Rugby W side are readying to call away their new home.
The revised 2021 women’s fixture has the Brumbies, whose home matches last year were just the two at Canberra Stadium in the midst of the pandemic that ended the competition early, playing just one this year but on the other side of its arbitrary border.
The Brumbies are set to host Melbourne Rebels on June 19 at Seiffert Oval, less than two kilometres away from the territory, but will be forced to keep an eye on ongoing lockdown restrictions in Victoria that could wipe out the historic Queanbeyan home game.
The NSW government has yet to close the state border while Melburnians are in the midst of a seven-day lockdown that could end on Friday.
The choice of home ground coincided with the announcement of the new Brumbies Super Rugby W coach, who made his name in the first national schoolboy championship XV won by the ACT back in 1993.
Former Australian under-18 coach Dan Hawke will head back to his hometown in charge to open the season at a familiar sight before playing remaining matches in Coffs Harbour.
The Queanbeyan venue that was the home ground for Canberra Raiders from 1982 to 1989 was upgraded in 2017 with improvement to facilities, including new seats in the grandstand and its scoreboard.
Seiffert Oval dates back before famous performances on its turf, but none more remarkable than Queanbeyan hometown heroes David Campese and Ricky Stuart.
Campese had occasionally stepped out for Queanbeyan Blues in league – and probably less for Queanbeyan Whites in union, before a path to international stardom caused one of the great wingers to farewell the hallowed ground.
Stuart, on the other hand, first recalled the cold afternoons waiting around for autographs outside of the Seiffert Oval change rooms from Canberra Raiders before years later taking out their 1988 player-of-the-year award on debut and the next season bringing the NSWRL trophy back to Queanbeyan in the club’s inaugural premiership.
The next year they were off to a rapidly-changing Canberra Stadium much to the dismay of loyal supporters, who seeming, years, even decades later, yearn for a halcyon return.
But now one of the icons of ACT sport is returning to Queanbeyan to pay back a favour.
“Obviously, it is unfortunate that the Super W competition isn’t in the usual home and away format this year,” Brumbies CEO Phil Thomson said, “but we’re looking forward to the team competing in this year’s competition format – and hopefully we will be able to resume the normal program next season and beyond.”