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Fan's annual message lives on through shear magic

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For nine years Peter Pearson carved an annual message of support for his beloved Brumbies into the hedge of his Narrabundah home. But for the team's first finals appearance since 2004 this Sunday, the ''Go Brumbies'' sign has been styled by his son Matthew, in memory of his father who died last week, aged 78.

''This hedge has got a name in Canberra - it's amazing the number of people you come across that know of the hedge because of dad's annual carvings,'' Matthew said.

His sister Philippa Hoy had the idea to continue the tradition in honour of their father, who had been a Brumbies member and supporter since the team's inception in 1996.

''If he was with us now, this weekend would be a really big deal for him and he'd be out watching the game,'' she said.

Instead Mrs Hoy's husband, Symon, and their son, Sam, will represent the family.

While Mr Pearson snr will be with the Brumbies only in spirit when they take on the Cheetahs, he did get to watch the side's historic victory over the Lions, and the Wallabies win in the second Test, from his hospital bed.


''[He] loved his rugby - we set his iPad up in hospital … so he managed to watch a few games,'' Matthew said. While the hedge has varied in its message over the years, with ''C'mon Brumbies'' and ''Our Brumbies'' and even an attempt at a horse one year, Matthew was entrusted with this year's design. ''Philippa sent me a text and I took the text literally - she said, 'Can you do something that says, Go Brumbies?' So I did that,'' he said.

''Matthew's had a bit of artistic licence with the football shape and the goal post - that's a new contemporary feel to the original design,'' his sister joked.

While Mr Pearson snr used sticks to measure out the lettering, and manual shears, his horticulturist son took a more modern approach.

''We were quite anal about the measuring, making sure the dimensions were OK, because I'm the one who [was] going to look like a goose if it was missing a letter, and the plan was approved by the five-year-old [Sam], so then we were good to go.''