When it was announced in 2014 that Canberra’s National Rugby Championship team would be taking on the Vikings’ name and colours, the uproar was something to behold.
How could a team that represents Canberra boast a local club’s name, colours, and play out of their home ground (admittedly the only realistic option for a venue)?
I too felt frustrated. I too signed a petition requesting to have the team play in blue and gold, rather than Tuggeranong’s red and white.
It wasn’t until a chat with Brumbies flyer Robbie Coleman that I sat and thought about it. They are representing Canberra. They are our local team.
But, such is the fierce nature of club rivalries, a number of people still refuse to barrack for their local side – despite the fact players from their own club are donning the red and white jumper.
This is where the Eastlake Demons have done Australian Rules in Canberra a massive favour. When Ainslie withdrew from the NEAFL last year, the Demons remained as the capital’s sole representative in the competition. In a similar case to that of the Vikings in the NRC, Eastlake were faced with the problem of getting Canberra to support the region’s last remaining second-tier side.
So, how do you get Canberra to band together to support an Eastlake team? The answer is quite simple. Enter the Canberra Demons. Adopting Canberra’s sporting colours of blue and gold, Eastlake reaffirmed its commitment to the game in our region.
To be seen as a Canberra representative team, the Demons will wear the blue and gold for home games, and wear Eastlake’s red and black for away games. The rebadged outfit has also been in talks with the AFL to ensure the long-term presence of the NEAFL in Canberra by working towards a three-year extension, until the end of the 2019 season.
The side faces a number of competition heavyweights to start the season, but seven of their first eleven games will be held in the nation’s capital. So throw on your blue and gold, and get to Manuka Oval Sunday, Apr. 17, to cheer on Canberra’s team.