The Goulburn Dirty Reds have been forced to reschedule their annual Sponsors Day due to a late-notice forfeit from the Canberra Royals on Saturday.
Originally, Goulburn was supposed to host the Queanbeyan Whites women's team, along with the Royals men's first and second grade sides over the weekend.
But on Thursday, the Whites pulled out of their scheduled women's match due to concerns over the recent COVID-19 close contact site in Goulburn.
The Royals followed suit on Saturday morning, a decision which Dirty Reds president, Jackson Reardon, described as "frustrating".
"It was frustrating for us, because the ACT Health advice is that they can travel to Goulburn," Reardon said.
"The ACT is recommending that people minimise travel, but there's nothing to say that they couldn't, which is why ACT Rugby said it's a forfeit and the game won't be rescheduled.
"Hopefully it won't affect the games going forward, because we've got Gungahlin here next week and we're supposed to play Easts before finals."
The Sponsors Day will now be rescheduled. In a Facebook post on Saturday, the Dirty Reds said it would likely take place either this weekend, on July 31, or two weeks later, on August 14.
Yesterday, Reardon confirmed the club will most likely go with the latter date, as it will feature home finals fixtures for Goulburn's 18s, women's, second grade, and first grade sides.
The Dirty Reds had also planned to award club stalwart Geoffrey Shepherd with Life Membership last Saturday.
Though Shepherd has never played for the Dirty Reds or held a committee position, he has volunteered for decades and his presence is highly valued by the players.
"It's 20 years of service that he's given to the club," Reardon said.
"That's actually the criteria for life membership with Goulburn rugby. I think there's about 15 life members, and that can include playing, coaching, volunteering.
"Geoff is, from my understanding, the first person to get it as a volunteer only. It's a pretty huge achievement."
The presentation of Shepherd's Life Membership will also take place on one of the two dates specific for the Sponsors Day, Reardon said.
The Dirty Reds are particularly eager to return to the field in what has been a stop-start season to this point.
Though Goulburn sits comfortably on top of the ACT First Division First Grade table, it has only played six matches this season and the team is looking for an opportunity to build momentum in the two weeks remaining before finals.
"We're struggling to get rugby in at the moment, which is a bit of a worry coming into finals," Reardon said.
"We'll get two games in the next two weeks and we'll be into finals. It is a bit of a long finals series though, so we'll hopefully be able to build a bit of momentum then."
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