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Caden Helmers

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Scores of rugby fans descended on Viking Park on April 30 for the Tuggeranong Vikings’ annual Ladies Day.

Often a day to celebrate the women in the Vikings family, the 2016 edition had a sad, but touching twist that made it the club’s most successful Ladies Day event to date.

Vi-Queens star Nikki Ayers returned to the club this season with her sights set on Brumbies and Wallaroos representation before a life-changing injury ended any hope of an international cap.

During Ayers’ return on March 16, she broke through the opposition defensive line before being tackled as she offloaded the ball to a teammate. It was in this tackle that Ayers suffered a serious knee dislocation, partly severing an artery and causing major nerve damage.

In hospital for over a month, Ayers fought through no less than ten operations in twenty-one days amidst concerns her leg would need to be amputated.

And so it was that the Vikings Rugby club made the decision to dedicate Ladies Day to one of their own, looking to raise funds and ease the financial burden on Ayers.

Over ninety people piled into the Ladies Day Marquee as the Vi-Queens played a Rugby 10s tournament, before the men’s sides clashed with Queanbeyan.

With their entry fee going directly to Ayers, guests were treated to wine, cider, food, canapes, and desserts throughout the day as the sun beamed down on the premier oval in local rugby.

With the players doing the hard yards on the paddock, the ones that made their rugby dreams possible were being pampered off it. Mothers, Grandmothers, wives, sisters, girlfriends and friends were all treated to makeovers and massage chairs as they cheered on the “Red Men”.

Fresh from completing a thrilling five-point victory, Vikings Colts players roamed around the ground selling raffle tickets – the money from which went straight to Ayers – as Second Grade took to the field looking to vanquish their opponents from across the border.

Another tight victory to the hosts set up a tantalising contest in the top grade, where the top-of-the-table, undefeated Vikings fell agonisingly short of a win over their arch-rivals in white.

But in the end, the results on the field were irrelevant. It was the result that occurred in the stands and on the hill that mattered most. Over $4,000 was raised to assist Ayers as she embarked on her long road to recovery.

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