ACT Brumbies issue call to arms in Super Rugby finals charge

The excuses are getting quieter, and the demand is only getting louder.

Canberra rugby fans - whether they are die hards or casuals - have struggled for the most part to get out to Canberra Stadium to cheer on the ACT Brumbies.

The Brumbies are winning games and climbing the ladder. Where are the crowds? Picture: AAP

The Brumbies are winning games and climbing the ladder. Where are the crowds? Picture: AAP

The excuses come thick and fast - they aren't playing exciting rugby. News flash, they just put five tries on the board.

It's too cold. They piled on the points in an afternoon game. I don't like Canberra Stadium. Well I hate to break it to you, but at this rate there is more chance of George Gregan starting for Australia at the World Cup than there is of a new stadium being built any time soon.

They're not winning, not like the glory days. They've won five on the trot at Canberra Stadium, and four of their past five overall.

So what? They won't play finals. The Brumbies sit on top of Super Rugby's Australian conference and could even host a final this season.

Well, umm ... The Brumbies are doing everything required. They have resurrected their season with their backs against the wall. They have done it without one of the world's premier rugby players in David Pocock.

Christian Lealiifano wants to lead the Brumbies out in front of bigger crowds. Picture: AAP Image/David Neilson

Christian Lealiifano wants to lead the Brumbies out in front of bigger crowds. Picture: AAP Image/David Neilson

They have two more home games to go before the finals begin, and coach Dan McKellar hopes their revival sparks a groundswell of support.

"We want to be playing in front of bigger crowds than what we are playing in front of at the moment," McKellar said.

"We're very grateful for our supporters and stakeholders that are here week in, week out. There's people that are 50-50 at the moment.

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"We've got a good football team here that's in a good position, and playing in front of 13-14,000 people instead of seven or eight [thousand] makes a huge difference.

"The players certainly feel that energy that the crowd brings. Hopefully in a couple of weeks on a Friday night, back here against the [Pretoria] Bulls, we get a really good crowd because this football team is heading in the right direction."

One thing is clear as the Brumbies search for answers in their bid to bring back crowds. Franchises have been the victims of Rugby Australia's litany of frustrating decisions alienating fans.

A flying Henry Speight is a star attraction. Picture: AAP Image/David Neilson

A flying Henry Speight is a star attraction. Picture: AAP Image/David Neilson

Think the drawn-out Western Force saga. Think the Israel Folau hearing. Think Super Rugby teams being forced to rest players because it will supposedly strengthen the Wallabies' World Cup hopes.

The fans are voting with their feet - empty seats in the grandstand suggest off-field drama has overshadowed the on-field attraction.

There's clearly more to it than cold weather in Canberra. The resurgent Canberra Raiders could welcome almost 20,000 for their NRL clash against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at home on Saturday night.

Those Green Machine fanatics are the type of people the Brumbies need to find. They are the kind of people Australian rugby needs to find.

Joe Powell crossed for the Brumbies as they piled on the points against the Sunwolves. Picture: AAP Image/David Neilson

Joe Powell crossed for the Brumbies as they piled on the points against the Sunwolves. Picture: AAP Image/David Neilson

The proud ACT club is not the only one suffering. The NSW Waratahs played in front of just 10,605 for their first game at western Sydney's new showpiece venue.

Seven days earlier the Parramatta Eels put on a show for 29,047 rugby league fans against the Wests Tigers in a stadium opening to remember.

Canberra loves a winner, and that is just what the Brumbies are doing. Only two teams have proven more successful on their home turf this year - the Canterbury Crusaders and Wellington Hurricanes.

The Brumbies are doing everything they can. Now it's time for disillusioned fans to forget Rugby Australia's woes, and get behind a team representing their region.