This weekend’s meeting between the Dubbo Kangaroos and Bathurst Bulldogs will take on more significance following the passing of central west rugby stalwart Ken Laird on Sunday morning.
Laird, a life member of both the Kangaroos and Bulldogs, has been fondly remembered after passing away peacefully in Bathurst Base Hospital following a short battle with illness.
The two clubs he was involved with are set to meet in the Blowes Clothing Cup at No. 1 Oval on Saturday and will again play for the Ken Laird Cup, silverware named in his honour.
“Kenny Laird has done an amazing amount for central west rugby,” Kangaroos president Graeme Board said.
“To have a ground named after you, life memberships at two clubs and having run the organisation for awhile as well, he put plenty in and made a lot of mates a long the way.”
The Kangaroos club, where Laird was also once president, posted a tribute on its Facebook page on Sunday night, remembering the work he did in helping the club make great strides forward, both on and off the field.
“During Ken’s involvement with the Club in the late 60’s and early 70’s his approach to Club affairs had been of significant benefit as was his coaching and organisational ability,” it read.
“As well as being a Life Member of Dubbo Rugby Club, Ken was also a Life Member of Bathurst Bulldogs Rugby Club and also Patron and Life Member of Central West Rugby Union.”
The work Laird put in at Dubbo mirrored what he did at Bathurst.
Not only a coach, Laird did a mountain of work in the day-to-day running of the club.
“KC has been a life member, former president, coach, committee and patron of Bulldogs, mentor, friend and confidant of many, and will be sorely missed,” a Facebook post from the Bathurst Bulldogs club stated.
“Ken is also a life member of Central West rugby, Dubbo Kangaroos rugby and a founding member, along side his wife Joan, of the Sylvania Waters Junior Rugby Club.
“We extend our sincere condolences to Ken's children, Robert and Fiona, to Ken's extended family and wide circle of friends.”
His contribution to rugby and the Bathurst community was recognised in 2015 when he was named one of the first 200 Bathurst Living Legends as part of the city’s bicentenary.
Details of Laird’s funeral have not yet been confirmed.
The Bathurst Bulldogs currently hold the Ken Laird Cup after defeating the Roos at the Bathurst earlier this season.
With the two sides locked in a share of second spot, there was plenty to play for this weekend anyway but the emotion surrounding Laird’s passing has given each side more motivation.