ANDY Muirhead can almost feel the struggle of an entire community as he glances toward the burnt trees flanking a Bemboka property.
The ACT Brumbies winger admits it is "quite hard to see" regions still trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild after bushfires ravaged the state during a scorching summer.
But that's why he was so desperate to lend a helping hand when he joined his teammates and volunteers from BlazeAid to rebuild fences lost during the blaze in a community visit on Wednesday.
Muirhead, Berry's Will Miller, Lachlan Lonergan and Mack Hansen were in Bemboka to rebuild internal boundary fences, play touch football with the locals and put on a feed.
It marked the end of a long wait with the club finally able to lend a helping hand after being forced into a rugby bubble to combat COVID-19 during their triumphant Super Rugby AU campaign.
"I remember at the start of the year how hard it was for us, even though we weren't directly affected. You could feel the struggles our community was having," Muirhead said.
"Coming back out here, you revisit those feelings from the start of the year. You can still see the burnt out trees, you can still see a lot of struggle out here which is quite hard to see.
"At the start of the year it was something our group said was really important to us. The community supports us and we couldn't wait to get back out.
"Once we could, we said we'd get back out in the community and help out where we can, then obviously COVID hit and we couldn't do that. It's good now the bubble is broken, and we can catch up on some lost time and get out into communities and still help.
"It was good to see what they're doing on a day to day basis, waking up in the morning, going out and putting up kilometres of fences and seeing how hard that can be.
"By the sound of it they've still got a lot more work to do, they're doing what they can to help out the guys that need to move forward with their life."
BlazeAid is helping 56 property owners around the Bemboka region who had lost fences during the fires, with the not for profit organisation working in the area since May.
Bayley Kuenzle, Connal McInerney, Tom Cusack and Darcy Swain visited Tumut and Batlow, while a group including the likes of Tom Ross, Issak Fines and Harry Lloyd went to Broulee and Braidwood.
The club has made a concerted effort to cram in community visits since their victorious grand final appearance, one Muirhead says his teammates won't come down from any time soon.
"The boys are still buzzing. The Wallabies guys have left us to go onto their duties. The guys back here are still thoroughly enjoying the win, the mood is still quite high," Muirhead said.
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