The Goulburn Dirty Reds have confirmed that ACT Rugby called off the remainder of the 2021 season today, after the Canberra lockdown was extended until October 15.
Dirty Reds president, Jackson Reardon, said this outcome was not unexpected, but "disappointing" nonetheless.
"They've done a really good job, I think better than most sports, to come up with contingency plans to make it happen if they can, but it's just not possible at the moment," Reardon said.
"We're pretty disappointed. In talking to a lot of the guys in the senior men's teams over the last few weeks, there's a lot of guys that are disappointed with how the year has ended because it's one of the better teams they've been involved in."
Indeed, Goulburn Rugby enjoyed an extremely strong year whenever they were able to take to the field.
Though matches were played sporadically, between byes, washouts, and matches cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, most Goulburn teams produced strong results, and Reardon was pleased with the club's performance in 2021.
"I think it was a really strong year in terms of player numbers for both sides, and I like to think that's one of the most important things for the club," Reardon said.
"In the men, we've never had that many people consistently at training. Training sessions had 30 to 40 people Tuesdays and Thursdays all year, and when selecting a second grade side we even had to leave guys out some weeks.
"I think that's really good for the club moving forward, along with the growth the Under 18s had under Dave Anable, those guys really improved throughout the year.
"The girls playing their second year in the 15s comp, they really managed to strengthen their numbers this year, which I think was important because playing that competition with 17 or 18 players is really difficult. They were also looking on track to make the finals, so I think all-round it was a really strong year for the club."
The Dirty Reds have also made it through the lockdowns over the last month with very little financial damage incurred.
Unlike the 2020 lockdowns, which left most local sporting clubs in dire straits, Goulburn Rugby's sponsors have ensured that the club has made it through recent weeks relatively unscathed.
"We're really grateful for the support for all our sponsors," Reardon said.
"Everyone paid up early in the season, because I think businesses in Goulburn for the most part came through last year pretty well, and hopefully it'll be the same when we're out of lockdown in October or November.
"Our sponsor support was really good, and on the other side we had some really successful days with fundraising.
"Financially, around this time last year we'd had one of the worst years we'd had in ten years due to COVID. This year, we're in a much stronger position and we're really grateful for the sponsors we have, because at the end of the day we don't operate without them."
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