The renewed push by television broadcasters calling on the names of Super Rugby teams to better reflect where the teams come from can’t come soon enough.
Last weekend the Brumbies played the Lions. They also face the Stormers, the Sharks, the Bulls, the Blues, the Highlanders and the Hurricanes, amongst other teams in Super Rugby.
I would suggest that outside the rugby faithful community, there is little understanding of where the teams are based.
The names: the Sharks; the Blues; and the Lions, simply create confusion. These names have already been adopted by Australian football teams in other codes.
I remember well when the ACT was removed from the Brumbies name. There was confusion around the reason why this occurred. My understanding at the time was that the name of the team needed to change to represent Southern NSW as well as Canberra. It was felt by many that it was a marketing decision more than anything else.
But having ‘Canberra’ in the Raiders name, hasn’t affected their appeal. Nor should it.
If anything, if the Brumbies re-introduced the ‘ACT’ into their name, it would geographically adhere them to their home location. It would help the marketing of teams playing the Brumbies at Canberra Stadium. It simply gives more information about the location of teams within the Super League.
While on the subject of names for Canberra sporting teams, I can’t help but identify with teams that reflect the city or least have names that have a philosophical connection with the ACT. It’s the same with individual athletes. I am drawn to the names of athletes who have some association with Canberra.
The Raiders were originally named because they were coming from outside the NSW stronghold of Sydney in the NSWRL. They were effectively coming to ‘raid’ the NSW coffers; although there was a suggestion that the name originated from the Oakland Raiders in the NFL.
But for the Brumbies, there were plenty of left-field options before coach Rod McQueen presented the Brumbies as a name-option for the Super 12 side in 1995. Thankfully, Bogongs, Diggers and Senators were confined to the wastebasket.
The Brumbies name reflected the wide open running style adopted in those early years as well as a connection to the nearby Snowy Mountains.
The UC Canberra Capitals name is an obvious connection to the national status of the city. Their North Queensland-based opponents in the WNBL are aptly named the Townsville Fire.
Which is why I don’t mind the name of the Canberra team in the new Hockey One series: The Canberra Chill pretty much reflects the temperature in our winter months. Canberra sporting teams seem to have been reluctant to embrace the cold in their names. This could possibly be because the ACT community believe that the less you talk about the temperature, the less it affects you.
The Canberra Chill has changed that. Hopefully, more will follow in the future.