PAT MCCABE THE REFEREE?
He's the hard-nosed Wallabies and Brumbies warrior who was forced to retire because of injury, but is Super Rugby's version of Chuck Norris about to become a referee? ARU boss Bill Pulver believes picking up a whistle could be the perfect way to keep Pat McCabe in rugby for life after he was forced to retire this year. McCabe broke his neck three times in less than two years before deciding to walk away from the game. "The game has always loved Pat McCabe because his values and behaviours are very closely aligned with the game. He's a terrific guy. Behind closed doors there have been some conversations ... imagine if Pat took up refereeing. I'm delighted he'll be involved and we'd love to keep him in the game." It would be a tough transition for the man many regard as the toughest player to have suited up for the Brumbies or Wallabies. While McCabe was as tough as nails on the field, he was humble off it. He'd get instant respect if he took up refereeing - the hardest gig in sport. But it's understood McCabe's immediate focus is on finishing his law degree and working for the Brumbies next year. McCabe will join the Brumbies' back room staff and Canberra law firms already have offered him work experience. There have been talks about how to keep him in rugby, but McCabe could walk away from the game all together. "I wrote to Pat and congratulated him on a phenomenal career," Pulver said. "It was disappointing for his career to end that way, but the kid had already bounced back [from two broken necks] so he should be incredibly proud of what he achieved."
BASEBALL BEARDS' BOOMING BUSINESS
What started out as a beard has become a flourishing home business for Canberra Cavalry pitching coach Hayden Beard. He decided to join the hirsute set over the off-season, which led to him discovering beard oil. Suddenly he was researching jojoba oil, which promotes hair growth, almond oil to "fix the itch with Beardy's" and some secret scents - one of which Beard claims is a known aphrodisiac. While it's a home business, with demand quickly outstripping supply, he's adamant he doesn't make it in the bath. "I just sold them to a few mates who had beards ... but now it's going well and I want to sell it wholesale, just make it more accessible to everyone out there," Beard said. "It's all done in proper mixing glass containers - I feel like a real chemist when I'm doing it actually." Beard also has a few other products to complement the oil in the pipeline, like beard balm and conditioner, but he's not expecting to quit his day job as a public servant any time soon. But he wants to combine his two loves - beards and baseball - with a Cavs beard night at Narrabundah Ballpark during the upcoming Australian Baseball League season. The 29-year-old has struggled with a persistent shoulder injury in recent years but has started a four-month rehab program that could see him make a return to the pitching mound for the Cavalry in mid-December. "I'm going to talk to the Cavs and see if we can do a beard night out at a Cavs game this year and see if we can do some kind of deal for everyone who has got a beard and have a beard party," he said. "Play The Beards' music all night. Beards are everywhere right now. You can't go 10 steps down the street without seeing four blokes with beards." Beard's brother helped develop the website beardys.com.au while a friend helped design the logo.
SEIFFERT GETS FACELIFT
More than $1million in renovations will begin at Queanbeyan's Seiffert Oval on October 1, with the iconic ground sprucing up to host the Canberra Raiders in February. Seiffert Oval was the original home to the Raiders from 1982-89, but it's looking very tired and the surface has copped plenty of flak from players in the Canberra Raiders Cup competition this season. The first stage of improvements will be upgrading the drainage and laying a new surface, fixing up the scoreboard and replacing the seats in the grandstand. Queanbeyan mayor Tim Overall assured it would be complete and in tip-top condition for its first test, the Raiders against the Newcastle Knights in a trial on February 21. "We've been disappointed with the surface and I know some players have too," Overall said. "We had to do a lot of remediation work at the start of the season to bring it up to a satisfactory standard, but certainly for the Raiders' pre-season game and and what we envisage for the future we need a better surface."
KIDDEY IMPRESSES MUSCAT IN FFA CUP
He almost missed Tuggeranong United's historic FFA Cup clash against the Melbourne Victory, but Sean KIddey caught the eye of A-League coach Kevin Muscat. Kiddey only recently returned home from a trip around Europe and the speedy defender wasn't expected to play against the Victory on Tuesday night. In fact, Kiddey wasn't even named in Tuggeranong's program at the ground. So when he was injected in the second half, and shut down electric Victory winger Connor Pain, Muscat was impressed. "Who was the No. 20? He was fast. How old is he?" Muscat asked after the press conference. "He tested Connor." Muscat said that, while he had been concentrating more on Victory's performance, "Tuggeranong put on a good show". Making it even more impressive was that Kiddey had just one training session with Tuggeranong before the game in front of 5000 fans. When he got on the field he dislocated his thumb in the first tackle he made, but he played on and the Victory might come knocking with a training offer.
FEDERATION CUP TO GET A BOOST
Tuggeranong United coach Steve Forshaw is adamant Canberra's premier soccer clubs will take the Federation Cup seriously after seeing the success of the FFA Cup. Tuggeranong was beaten 6-0 by the Melbourne Victory in front of more than 5000 fans at Viking Park. It was a huge night for the sport in Canberra, triggering calls for the capital to launch a new A-League bid. Tuggeranong gained its place in the FFA Cup by winning the Federation Cup last year. "The Federation Cup has just raised its profile significantly," Forshaw said. "Everyone will want a taste of what we have and we certainly want another go. But I can't imagine any club turning down the opportunity." A Canberra A-League team is still a long way off as the FFA focuses on Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Tuggeranong spent $35,000 in setting up the venue for the match.
TUTT TAKES ON BIG GUNS
Canberra's Jason Tutt takes on some of Hawthorn's big guns for a chance to press his claims for a new AFL contract. Tutt will play for Footscray against Box Hill in the VFL grand final at Etihad Stadium on Sunday. Box Hill is set to roll out AFL players Cyril Rioli, Brad Sewell, Ryan Shoenmakers and Ben McEvoy. Tutt, 23, is nearing the end of his AFL contract with the Western Bulldogs. He will be searching for a new deal after the grand final and he could stay at the Bulldogs, but his immediate future is up in the air. Tutt played seven AFL games this season and has played 26 games in his four-year career. Performing in a grand final is the perfect way to show he's ready to make a bigger impact at AFL level. Meanwhile, the GWS Giants will host their grand final lunch in Canberra on Tuesday with AFL royalty to be at the Arboretum. Premiership greats Michael Voss and Barry Hall will be guest speakers alongside Hawthorn legend Robert Dipierdomenico.