Former Brumbies chairman steps down as the team unearths a future star

Former ACT Brumbies chairman Robert Kennedy has cut ties with the organisation, stepping down from his position on the board and ending a 20-year association with the club.

Kennedy had the ACT rugby union board reins through an ugly period off the field as the Brumbies struggled to find leadership and financial stability.

Former Brumbies chairman Robert Kennedy has finished a 20-year association with the club.

Former Brumbies chairman Robert Kennedy has finished a 20-year association with the club.

He stepped down from his position as chairman at the annual general meeting at the end of last year after the Brumbies posted a $14,000 profit. It was a first time in six years they managed to record a profit.

But he has now ended all official roles after previously serving as chairman and on the finance and audit committee. The Brumbies have also appointed David Kenyon and Vikki Fisher to the board of directors.

The Brumbies appear to have found some board room certainty under the guidance of new chairman Phil Thomson and the club signed a long-awaited alliance agreement with the University of Canberra last week.

But they will feel the pinch financially this year after attracting disappointing crowd numbers to most of their home games this year.

The Brumbies launched a '15 for 15' crowd campaign in the hope of attracting 15,000 fans to their clash against the Japan Sunwolves last week. The attendance fell short of the target, but the crowd of 9521 was an improvement on an almost record low in May.

The Brumbies are hopeful of turning another profit this season but breaking even could depend on any revenue from home games.

The Brumbies will play their last home game when they clash against the Wellington Hurricanes at Canberra Stadium on June 30.

The match will be a chance for the Brumbies to break a 13-game losing run against New Zealand rivals and they need to topple the Hurricanes to be any chance of forcing their way into the play-offs.

Connal McInerney has emerged as a Brumbies star of the future.

Connal McInerney has emerged as a Brumbies star of the future.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has given his players a week to recuperate before flying to Japan on Tuesday for an exhibition match against Suntory.

The trip to Japan will give rookie hooker Connal McInerney a chance to press his claims for a full-time contract.

McInerney was outstanding in his starting debut last week, getting through 80 minutes in just the third game of his career.

The 23-year-old is the Brumbies' fourth-string hooker, but only has a temporary deal after being called into the squad as a replacement when injury ended Josh Mann-Rea's season in March.

"Connal has proven in the last couple of weeks that he's a kid that belongs at this level, which is nice," McKellar said.

"I'll be honest, I wasn't sure [if he was ready] a couple of months ago. But that's what opportunity gives you.

"He was pretty nervous [before the game against the Sunwolves] … but he was very, very good. He did his job well."

The Brumbies will take the bulk of their squad to Japan to play against defending Top League champions Suntory, which boasts form ACT skipper Matt Giteau.

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