THE “burst of Pacific flavour” set to flood Bathurst’s Carrington Park today has been doused by the bushfires engulfing the Blue Mountains.
Three Western Rams sides - under 18s, under 16s and a development outfit - were set to face-off against Rugby League Samoa NSW teams this afternoon, but with smoke covering the region and fires forcing road closures around the Lithgow area, it became impossible for the Samoan side to reach Bathurst.
When the call was made at about 1.30pm yesterday afternoon, both the Great Western Highway and the Bells Line of Road were closed due to the fires.
Western Rams regional manager Peter Clarke said playing the game as well as travel west of the mountains was simply “too risky”.
“It is unfortunate, the build-up to it has been pretty good,” Clarke said.
“Everyone has been pretty excited with it being a bit different, a bit of pacific culture, but really we’re not in a position to whinge.
“There’s some pretty important things going on at the moment, people are losing their houses and I’m sure we’ll be able to organise another date to play footy in the future.”
Clarke said Western Rams officials and Rugby League Samoa NSW officials were hopeful of accommodating the fixture in three weeks’ time, but that will hinge on whether or not Carrington Park is available on the proposed date.
“We can’t confirm anything at this stage though,” he said.
“Samoa will have to talk to all of their players and their parents and try and sort something out. We’re hopeful it’ll continue to be played.”
Fires have engulfed the Blue Mountains, with the direction of Mount Tomah, Mount Wilson and Mountt Irvine affected while fires are still burning near Oakey Park, Morts Estate, Clarence, Dargan and Mount York.
WESTERN UNDER 18s: Jarrod Robbins (Orange CYMS), Codie Lang (Orange CYMS).
WESTERN DEVELOPMENT: Tony Pellow (Orange Hawks), Tevita Lucas (Orange CYMS), Max Wolfson (Orange Hawks).
WESTERN UNDER 16s: Jedd Kennedy (Bloomfield, c), James Angus (Orange CYMS), Stephen Khattar (Bloomfield), Ryan Griffin (Orange CYMS), Hayd’n Baragry (Bloomfield), Jye Barrow (Bloomfield), Deyrne McKenzie (Bloomfield), Luke Coyte (Bloomfield).