The Canberra Raiders and veteran half Terry Campese remain tight-lipped about when – or even if – he will return to pre-season training after the club granted him an extra month's leave. But Campo has popped up in the most unlikely of places: a fashion catwalk. Campese joined Raiders teammates Jarrod Croker and Glen Buttriss and BMX champion Caroline Buchanan to model a new line of sporting gear by Canberra brand OnTheGo at Exhibition Park on Saturday. The Raiders and Campese remain in a contractual stand-off, but Campese's comical strut on the runway probably helps explain why he's also reluctant to give up his day job in the NRL. "It was a lot of fun watching Terry Campese walk the runway with his hands on his hips," Buchanan said. OnTheGo was started by Canberra's Mick Spencer in 2009 and has already expanded sales into 15 countries. It will supply Buchanan's jerseys next year and is supporting her Next Gen team, her mentoring program for young, aspiring, female BMX riders. Buchanan has two girls in the program and, after a national search, is set to announce a third this week. "Mick's really giving back to grassroots sport and that's where we aligned with my Next Gen girls," Buchanan said. "The support of OnTheGo is really important to keep my dream alive of being able to mentor BMX girls and bridge the gap to try and get them to world championships."
GWS GIANTS STILL WIN IN CANBERRA
The GWS Giants are happy with their growth in Canberra, independent marketing research by Repucom showing their four games in the capital this year generated an economic impact of $2.1 million for the ACT, up from $1.8 million in 2013. The biggest growth factor was sporting tourism as the games drew 7025 interstate visitors, up 35 per cent. The report also showed more people watch Giants matches on the box, their games drawing an average national television audience of 319,728, which out-rates the Canberra Raiders in the NRL (229,045) and ACT Brumbies (85,847) in Super Rugby. But there is devil in the detail, too. Canberra crowds for Giants games were down 5 per cent this year. Combined with the increase in interstate visitors, this actually means far fewer Canberrans went along to the games at Manuka Oval. Also the economic impact of $2.1 million still does not quite match the $2.3 million the ACT government pays the Giants each year. However, the Giants are confident they will enjoy their best year in the ACT next year, based on an improved fixtures list and their expectation they will win more games. Their record crowd at Manuka is 11,092, against St Kilda in 2013, but the Giants think two games could give that a nudge next year. They will play the Gold Coast Suns in a twilight match on Anzac Day, which coincides with the 100th anniversary of Gallipoli, sure to draw a big influx of visitors to Canberra. The Giants will also host competition heavyweights Geelong later in the season. Also expect a big crowd in the pre-season on March 22, if Sydney Swans superstars Buddy Franklin, Adam Goodes and Kurt Tippett make themselves available on that date.
CANBERRA RAIDERS OPEN DOORS TO RAM RAIDER JOSH HODGSON
The Canberra Raiders issued a stern warning to Josh Hodgson via a media statement when footage emerged of the England representative hooker crashing through a door at a students' party in New Zealand last weekend. Raiders chief executive Don Furner was quoted as saying "he will be spoken to further when he arrives at club headquarters because that sort of behaviour is unacceptable at the Raiders". It seems that stance has softened, the club releasing a parody video of Hodgson's arrival at Raiders HQ during the week. To the soundtrack of Knockin' On Heaven's Door, Hodgson charges towards the club's glass reception doors and drops his shoulder, only to pull up, knock on the door, then walk through it calmly with a grin. Calls for the NRL's integrity unit to look into the incident were way over the top, while mentions of Hodgson's stunt in the same stories as Kirisome Auva'a's domestic violence case were out of order. The 25-year-old Hodgson was a class act when he arrived in Canberra, fronting up to training on the very first day and apologising for the embarrassment he had caused. He was also embarrassed when this reporter spotted a tattoo on his arm: "Opportunity doesn't knock, it presents itself when you beat the door down." While he will pay for the damage to the door, it is only now Hodgson is reflecting on the damage he might have done himself. "Body-wise I probably got off it lightly," he said. "I could have landed funny and twisted my elbow or popped my shoulder, but you don't tend to think about that." Hodgson well and truly did his due diligence on Canberra before joining the Raiders, revealing he had talked to former Raiders Michael Dobson, Michael Weyman, Neville Costigan and Lincoln Withers before leaving the UK Super League.
CANBERRA RAIDERS YOUNGSTER LACHLAN CROKER SHOWS HIS CLASS
The Canberra Raiders will try to keep the lid on expectations, but there is excitement about the emergence of 17-year-old half Lachlan Croker. Raiders coaches Ricky Stuart and Dean Pay made the trip to Goulburn recently to meet Croker's parents to explain their plans for his development over the next few years. Croker is training with the NRL squad this pre-season and is contracted until 2017. Stuart made a similar approach to the parents of Raiders halfback Mitch Cornish earlier this year, when many frustrated Raiders fans were calling for the Goulburn junior and 21-year-old to be rushed into the NRL. Lachlan is no relation to Raiders centre Jarrod Croker, but the nephew of Raiders legend Jason Croker, who holds the record for most first-grade games played at the club: 318. He is a smart cookie, too, having captained St Patricks College Goulburn and completed his HSC this year.
CHAMPION TRIATHLETE JACKIE FAIRWEATHER'S FRIENDS OUT IN FORCE
There were some great insights into the character of former triathlon world champion Jackie Fairweather (nee Gallagher) at her memorial service on Thursday, particularly from her greatest sporting rival, Emma Carney. The two could barely bear to be in the same room at the height of their sporting careers in the 1990s, when they each won a world championship title. Triathlon Australia once threatened to fine them if they did not show up to a press conference together. But in the past 10 years, their triathlon battles done, they became great friends. Carney named her son Jack and could not believe it when she took him to his first day of school and met his teacher: Mrs Gallagher. While there were plenty of tears at the ceremony, there were also plenty of laughs to celebrate Fairweather's life. Her good friend Erin Burrows recalled one of her favourite sayings. "Enough about me, let's talk about you ... so, what do you think about me?".
FROSTY HOTEL MEETING FOR MICHAEL CLARKE, DALE STEYN UNLIKELY
We're told the Australian and South African cricket teams will be staying at the same Canberra hotel when they arrive before Wednesday night's one day international at Manuka. Because of his hamstring injury Michael Clarke is unlikely to travel with the Australian team, but it could have made things interesting if he and South African firebrand Dale Steyn had bumped into each other in the elevator. Australian players will be fighting for a great cause at Manuka, wearing a commemorative shirt to raise funds for the RSL and Legacy Australia. The shirts will feature the Camp Gallipoli logo and will be signed by the players and auctioned. Camp Gallipoli is a family event which will be held on Anzac Day 2015 to commemorate the centenary of the landing at Anzac Cove.