Sometimes there's a moment in a match which makes you realise sport is about more than wins and losses. That moment was Nick Townsend's moment last weekend.
The Queanbeyan Whites tragic pays his fees every season, packs his boots for every match and sits on the sideline with a grin, even though a rare genetic disorder prevents him from playing.
But Townsend's opportunity finally arrived at Viking Park, with the Whites leading Tuggeranong 33-0 with only minutes left in the match. Whites coach Sam French turned to Townsend and gave him the nod.
"I think he thought I was joking, because it took him about 10 minutes to get his boots on," French said. But this was no joke.
The Whites and Tuggeranong had a gentleman's agreement that no one would tackle Townsend - who has been diagnosed with Skraban-Deardoff syndrome. He was one of only a handful of people in the world to be diagnosed with the intellectual disability 18 months ago, but nothing could curb his rugby passion.
Play went on for about three minutes with Townsend on the field and when the Whites scored under the post, they threw the ball to their new recruit to take the kick.
"We go to the park most weeks and I reckon he kicks one out of 50. Maybe one out 100. So I couldn't believe it when this one went over," dad Vince Townsend said. "He hasn't stopped smiling."
The video has been viewed thousands of times on social media and the Whites and Vikings have been applauded for showing what the spirit of rugby is all about.
Townsend plays in the Modified Rugby Program - a modified version of touch-only rugby tailored to boys and girls with learning and perceptual disabilities.
But he also has a deep love of the Whites and the ACT Brumbies. Rugby, Whites and Brumbies are some of the few words in Townsend's limited vocabulary, but French said his message is always clear.
"Nick never misses a training session or a game. No matter what's happening, he's always smiling. I think most players from most clubs know who he is," French said.
"He's been a positive influence on everyone with the coronavirus and setbacks on the footy field. I'd been talking to his dad for ages saying we wanted to get him on the field.
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"Tuggies were awesome in allowing him to come on. It was one of the hardest weeks we've had, but that was a reminder of resilience and being positive about life. That was the spirit of rugby."
It was the prefect way to celebrate Canberra's return to sport after the government eased restrictions to allow contact competitions to begin last weekend.
"Nick's still pretty excited about what happened last weekend," Vince said. "He packs his bag, he's quite meticulous. Through the generosity of people, he's got about 45 jerseys.
"[Former Brumby] Joe Tomane even came around for dinner one time. Nick's just accepted at all levels, that's the good thing about rugby. He's part of the furniture."
ACT RUGBY UNION
First grade men: Gungahlin Eagles v Queanbeyan Whites at Nicholls Enclosed, 3.05pm; Uni-Norths Owls v Wests at ANU North, 3.05pm; Tuggeranong Vikings v Royals at Viking Park, 3.15pm.
Women: Tuggeranong ViQueens v Royals at Viking Park, 1.35pm; Uni-Norths Owls v Wests at ANU North, 1.40pm. Goulburn - bye.
Colts: Tuggeranong Vikings v Royals at Viking Park, 12.15pm; Gungahlin eagles v Queanbeyan Whites at Nicholls Enclosed, 12.15pm. Wests - bye. All games on Saturday.