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Canberra crowds disappear as Brumbies crash to frustrating loss

14 May 2018 6:06 AM
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The Brumbies are in danger of recording their worst average crowd figures in 20 years.

"It's really sad to be honest, as a rugby union person," said Brumbies coach Dan McKellar.

"It was obviously a cold, damp evening. Everyone in this room and here tonight wants the game to be thriving. The reality is at the moment it isn't.

"Our form is playing a part of that and I've got to front up and take ownership of that 100 per cent. I'll never shy away from that.

"But it is a bit sad. I want our boys playing in front of 15,000 people - people I know care about them."

The masses of empty seats in the capital were a long way from the glory days of 20,000 fans packing in to watching entertaining rugby.

It spoke volumes for the state of Australian rugby, but most importantly it should be a wake-up call for the ACT government and continual delays on plans for a new venue.

A private consortium are lobbying the ACT government in a bid to fast-track plans for a new venue in the city and the Australian Sports Commission is preparing to sell land at the AIS.

Canberra Stadium has deteriorated into one of the worst spectator venues in Super Rugby or NRL- excluding the immaculate playing surface.

The Canberra Raiders are still holding on to their core Green Machine fans and growing members, but they face a test to keep people at the ground in the colder months.

Plans to build a state of the art venue in the city have stalled in recent years as the government foots the bill of the Mr Fluffy loose-fill asbestos clean up.

But if they don't act quickly, there might be no one left to fill a new stadium.

A new stadium close to the city in Adelaide has boosted attendances and building a venue with a roof in Dunedin saw numbers jump by almost 7000.

Winning games helps, but the Brumbies' crowds have been dropping off for almost a decade despite the team making the finals every year since 2013.

The lack of covered seating, cold nights and Canberra Stadium being isolated are the major contributing factors.


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