Locker Room

Queanbeyan Golf Club general manager Jon Burrows and Queanbeyan mayor Tim Overall at the $20,000 eighth hole at the Queanbeyan Golf Club.

Queanbeyan Golf Club general manager Jon Burrows and Queanbeyan mayor Tim Overall at the $20,000 eighth hole at the Queanbeyan Golf Club. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

20,000 reasons to tee up

Queanbeyan is about as far away from the professional golf tour as it gets, but one shot could land any hacker $20,000 at next month’s Pro Am. The best part is any hacker in the competition can have a crack at the eighth-hole jackpot. The Queanbeyan Golf Club is stumping up $20,000 for a hole-in-one competition on the eighth hole as part of its Pro Am on March 4. After getting funding from Commonwealth Motors and jumping through plenty of hoops for insurance, chief executive Jon Burrows said the massive prize is ready to go off.  Even Queanbeyan Mayor Tim Overall is lining up for a shot. “Without a handicap I almost scored a hole-in-one,” Overall said. “My golf ball came down vertically to the hole after hitting the tip of the flag. It then landed five centimetres from the hole ... and I haven’t got close since!” The Queanbeyan Pro Am has attracted some big names in the past. In 1977 Kel Nagle, winner of the Australian Open in 1959 and the British Open in 1960, played at Queanbeyan. Greg Norman finished runner-up when he made a stop at Queanbeyan. Nagle’s grandson, Jake, is organising this year’s Queanbeyan Pro Am, which is open to all golfers with a handicap.

Graf wants equality

Legend ... George Smith of the Brumbies.

Legend ... George Smith of the Brumbies. Photo: Getty Images

Canberra Capitals coach Carrie Graf has thrown her support behind the mooted Canberra Cannons revival, but warned its timing and financial viability has to be analysed to the nth degree. “It would be great to have a men’s basketball team here, but is the city big enough and what’s the timing?” Graf said. “I don’t know whether there’s another $5million in the city, if there is I’d love for our operating budget to be half or even a fifth of that.” Double-headers in Adelaide involving WNBL’s Lighting and NBL’s 36ers have been a huge hit this summer. Graf would welcome the Capitals working closely with the Cannons, but only if it’s on a level playing field. “We’ve got to get beyond the girls are the warm-up to the boys game. When I worked with Sydney Flames under the Sydney Kings banner there was a good model with mutual benefits, but there’s got to be equality in it as well,” she said. It took just hours for a Canberra Cannons Twitter account to emerge after NBL boss Fraser Neill visited the capital this week.

Brumbies secure Smith’s signature

The Brumbies have secured Australian rugby legend George Smith’s signature. But it’s not on a contract – yet. Smith could call time on his rugby career at the end of his season in Japan with Suntory. It prompted Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham to hint the club would be interested in signing him again this year. The Brumbies are preparing some Smith memorabilia which will be available to fans in the coming months. Smith became the most capped player in Brumbies history when he played his 137th Super Rugby game last year (and he finished with more than 140 caps). Smith will sign 400 posters, which will be framed with a piece of the jersey the champion flanker wore on the night he broke the club record. It will be limited to just 400 and the Brumbies are keen to get him back to Canberra for an event. Smith was one of the most durable players in world rugby, playing 142 games for the Brumbies and 111 Tests for Australia. “He’s one of the best in the world, he dominated Australia, France and Japan,” Larkham said. “He needs a statue. There has to be a statue of him somewhere, whether that’s at a potential new stadium in Civic or at Canberra Stadium.”

Jake White.

Jake White. Photo: Colleen Petch

Part-timers’ confidence boost

The ACT XV – a team of tradies and part-time rugby players – held a Brumbies team featuring 11 internationals to just two tries in 62 minutes of rugby on Friday night. It came less than a week after being thrashed 67-0 by the same Brumbies side. Coach Craig Robberds hopes it’s a good indicator for the representative side’s Pacific Nations Cup, which starts next Sunday. The ACT team will play against the NSW Waratahs A side at Allianz Stadium as a curtain-raiser to the Waratahs-Western Force Super Rugby clash. They will then play Argentina A, Tonga A and Samoa A.

UC erases its link to White

Kayla Nisbet.

Kayla Nisbet. Photo: Vince Caligiuri

The University of Canberra teamed up with former ACT Brumbies coach Jake White to try and lure aspiring Springboks from South Africa to the capital on university degrees. Even though he has quit the Brumbies, UC is maintaining the “Jake White Scholarship” and the first recipient has arrived from South Africa. Locker Room understands UC is ready to change the name of the scholarship, given White is now back in his homeland coaching the Durban-based Sharks. It seems UC’s push to become Australia’s leading sports university knows no boundaries. Locker Room was surprised to spot a University of Canberra advertising sign on the boundary at the Australia-South Africa Test match at Centurion. UC already sponsors the Brumbies, Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League and is looking to take over the running of the Canberra Capitals in the WNBL.

Hoop’s wait nearly over

After a miserable run with injury and suspension late last year, Canberra apprentice jockey Kayla Nisbet hopes her enforced holiday will finally end on Tuesday. The young hoop will see a doctor in Melbourne, desperate to be cleared of her broken wrist so she can return to riding. Nisbet returned to Canberra in December to stay with family during her recovery. “It feels a lot better, it was quite stiff for a couple of weeks, but I’m getting all my movement back in it and strength,” Nisbet said. “I feel ready to come back.”

ACT sports minister Andrew Barr.

ACT sports minister Andrew Barr. Photo: Rohan Thomson

ACT not in roof race

The ACT Government won’t be engaging in race with Sydney to have Australia’s first rectangular stadium with a roof. ACT Sports Minister Andrew Barr has long flagged the potential of building a new stadium in Civic to replace an ageing Canberra Stadium and he wants it to be enclosed. Sydney’s ANZ Stadium revealed during the week it is considering building a retractable roof and possibly beginning work next year. “It remains to be seen what other jurisdictions do as to whether we’re the first, but if we’re going to make an investment ... of $300 million then it has to be purpose-built and having a roof is common sense,” he said. “[But we’re] not in a race.”

Comeback gets Nod

Food for thought: Brett Kimmorley.

Brett Kimmorley. Photo: Jay Cronan

Brett Kimmorley could be the next NRL star to come out of retirement to play in the Auckland Nines. Brad Fittler and Steve Menzies made their comebacks for the Roosters and Manly respectively at Eden Park, their returns generating extra interest in the truncated version of the game. “Freddie” raised the roof when he nabbed an intercept try against Wests Tigers. Kimmorley, who now works with the best young talent at the Canberra Raiders as a transitional coach, expressed interest in having a run in next year’s event. “It would be exciting to play again,” Kimmorley  said. “I think a lot of blokes would put up their hand. As long as you’re still able to compete – Freddie and Beaver will show everyone they can still do that – it will bring a lot more people in.” Kimmorley retired four years ago but continues to train with the Raiders players. “The athleticism of the guys now blows you away,” he said. “I used to keep up with most of them at the front at training but now I’m running with the forwards.”