Former Raiders coach David Furner is a notable absentee from next Friday's 20-year reunion of Canberra's 1994 premiership, given he was the Clive Churchill medallist as best on field. It would be understandable if Furner was still smarting a little from last year's sacking, but instead Furner showed plenty of class by sending his sincere apologies to the Raiders, noting he won't be able to make it because of commitments as assistant coach with the North Queensland Cowboys. Furner even joked with Locker Room that the Clive Churchill Medal was floating around in a storage shed in Canberra if someone had time to go rummaging and take it to the reunion. "It was one of those games you just wanted to last forever," Furner said of the 36-12 grand final win over the Bulldogs. "Having been there as a kid to watch the '89 grand final win, it was just so special to be part of one as a player." Brad Clyde and Noa Nadruku will also miss the ceremony, but the guest-list includes a host of greats. The Raiders have produced more than 15,000 free posters with six of the legends who will be attending – Mal Meninga, Laurie Daley, Ricky Stuart, Ken Nagas, Steve Walters and Jason Croker. Three-time Raiders premiership-winning coach Tim Sheens will also be there, as will '94 grand final hero and former pollie Paul Osborne and 1994 player of the year John Lomax. The Dogs will be represented by Steve Price and Simon Gillies. A dinner will precede the match between the Raiders and Bulldogs.
Escort this security guard
The Raiders can be thankful for rusted on supporters like Todd Christian and his family, given the over-reaction by a security guard at last Monday night's match. Raiders members for seven years, Christian and his sister were angered and humiliated when a security guard approached Christian's 10-year-old niece to remove a Raiders scarf that was hanging over a railing. The over-zealous security guard was following the rule book far too literally, given stadium policy tries to prevent large banners from hanging over fences and potentially blocking sponsor signage. It caused unnecessary angst, with threats the family could be escorted out and the guard even referring it to nearby Australian Federal Police officers. The Raiders outsource security but followed up Christian's complaint during the week to get to the bottom of it. To his credit, Christian and clan will be back in the stands for Friday night's match against the Bulldogs. "Being a Raiders fan, it's pretty tough times, their crowds are pretty small as it is. But it won't stop us going, we're not those kind of fans who walk away," Christian said.
Australian Kangaroos and Queensland forward Josh Papalii wasn't the only casualty at last Monday's Raiders NRL match, with the Hog's Breath mascot "Hoggie" tripping and dislocating his shoulder. So who is the man behind the foam snout and tusks? We can reveal he's Canberra storeman Josh Williams – or stage name Josh Illusions. A trained circus performer, Williams is also the man inside Sarge, the mascot for baseball's Canberra Cavalry. Earlier this NRL season he also filled is as Victor the Viking, while the original, Tony Woods, was crook on the sidelines with a serious infection. Williams has done his shoulder before, while performing as Sarge. But he's hoping to be back haming it up as Hoggie within two months. It's a shame for Williams, who appreciates the warmth of the mascot uniform during Canberra's winters. "It's the biggest advantage in the world during winter, but it's the other end of the spectrum as Sarge during summer ... we put a thermometer in there one day and it was 56 degrees." It's been a tough season for Canberra's mascots, giving us another reason to run this clip of Brumby Jack having a yak ...
Luby bowls them over at darts
Remember Steve Luby, the 41-year-old traffic controller who took an incredible 10 wickets in an innings – including a hat-trick – in a fourth grade cricket match for Wests in 2012? Well he's hitting his mark in another sport – darts. Luby, who also revealed his inspirational fightback from depression, is now ranked No.2 in the ACT in darts and will represent the Territory at the Australian Grand Masters in Canberra and Australian Championships in Adelaide next month. Luby learned darts as a teenager from his father, the late Ivan Luby, but never really pursued it until now. "Darts is a bit of a hobby, I don't really consider it a sport ... cricket's still my number one sport," Luby said. That could change if Luby, known to teammates as "10-fa", achieves his goal of representing Australia. "The guys from cricket say I'm a bit of a freak, like [former American baseball and NFL star] Beau Jackson, good at two sports," Luby laughs.
UC home without a name
The ACT Brumbies have moved into their new $16.5 million base at the University of Canberra, but plans to sell naming-rights sponsorship to the multi-sport venue has been dashed. The money-raised from selling naming rights sponsorship would have helped boost the Brumbies' finances. But because the facility is a joint project with the Brumbies, university and the ACT government, officials decided against going into the marketplace. It appears likely officials will avoid naming the venue to honour a past Brumbies player, like Australian great George Smith, and stick with a simple name. The official opening is next month.
Brumbies ready to re-sign?
Don't be surprised if the Brumbies add to their list of re-signings in coming weeks, Fotu Auelua and Joe Tomane set to stay in Canberra. The sticking point will be ARU deals. Both could easily get more money playing abroad, but it's the lure of the Wallabies jersey and a potential World Cup berth which could keep them at Brumbies HQ. We're hearing Auelua is close to a one-year renewal. The damaging ball-runner was on the cusp of a Wallabies call up last year before injury cruelly ended his Test hopes just days after then-coach Robbie Deans wanted him in the squad for the British and Irish Lions tour.
LJ's recruitment pitch for Caps
Canberra Capitals star Lauren Jackson expects Liz Cambage's WNBL comeback to be the catalyst for the strongest Australian competition in recent memory. Cambage has signed to play with the Dandenong Rangers after a two-year stint in China, reportedly making some $400,000 a season. Cambage is on a mission to become the first player to slam dunk in a WNBL match. "For the league it's great, she's one of the best players in the world right now," Jackson said of Cambage. Jackson is recovering from her third knee operation this year and admits she's looking for back-up when she returns to the Capitals this season. But we don't know how seriously to take her tweet to American superstar Swin Cash via Twitter on Friday. The Atlanta Dream forward has won two Olympic gold medals and three WNBA Championships and has played alongside Jackson in the WNBA at Seattle Storm. ''Babe want you to come play in Canberra with me in the off season :)'' Jackson tweeted Cash. Cash replied ''Hmm''. It's not an outright 'no'.