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Locker Room: Gerrit 'Chief' Wanganeen plays 350 games for Tuggeranong Hawks

When he was 14, Gerrit Wanganeen's father died of a heart attack and the Tuggeranong ACT AFL footy club became like a surrogate dad. Twenty-four years later, the man affectionately known as "Chief" is preparing to play his 350th club game for the Hawks on Sunday. A second cousin of AFL star Gavin Wanganeen, Chief is a Tuggeranong premiership captain, has coached and been on the board. He's also been involved with the ACT/South Coast indigenous side. Now 38, Wanganeen reaches his milestone game against Ainslie at Greenway Oval on Sunday at 2.15pm. His first match was for Tuggeranong's Under-19s as a 16-year-old. "My father passed away when I was 14 and initially a couple of people at the Tuggeranong Lions played a big part in helping me through that," Wanganeen recalled. "When I joined the senior club a couple of people who knew my father through work took me under their wing. At the time the senior players really looked after me and made me feel a part of it. Then it became part of what I do."

Larkham on lookout for assistant

Tuggeranong Hawks veteran Gerrit Wanganeen.
Tuggeranong Hawks veteran Gerrit Wanganeen. Photo: Graham Tidy

ACT Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher left during the week to take up his role with UK club Gloucester and Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham could have a new assistant coach on board by the end of next week. Larkham said he'd been called by a number of interested coaches looking to take on the role, but the former Australian fly-half has also gone out headhunting for a potential deputy. The new assistant coach would work in combination with Larkham and Dan McKellar. The Brumbies have also advertised for a team manager, which Larkham is hoping to settle on in the next fortnight.

Yackety yack, Brumby Jack 

Michael Matthews.
Michael Matthews. Photo: Getty Images

Still reckon Brumby Jack was drunk on Anzac Day when he threw up at the Brumbies v Chiefs Super Rugby blockbuster? You'll get the answer on Monday when an episode of "Dayne's World" is put up on YouTube, featuring Dayne Rathbone, the brother of retired Brumbies winger Clyde. Apparently Clyde helped arrange to get Dayne in the Brumby Jack suit for the clash against the Waikato Chiefs in April. But it ended in disaster when Dayne vomited in front of fans at Canberra Stadium. In the episode of Dayne's World, you can hear the crowd shouting: "Someone get a gun!" when Dayne starts throwing up. The episode is a must-see for Brumbies fans. We can confirm Dayne wasn't drunk. He was just being Dayne. Check out www.youtube.com/checkpointcomedy on Monday for video evidence.

Bling celebrates second

Disappointed to miss his debut at the Tour de France because of injury, Canberra cyclist Michael Matthews at least got to celebrate a stage win at the Tour of Poland this week. Problem was, the cyclist known as "Bling" actually finished second. Matthews sat up on his saddle and pointed the number one finger to the sky in victory after coming out in front on a bunch sprint. But Czech Petr Vakoc had already broken from the peloton and finished 21 seconds earlier. Matthews' radio was broken and he didn't know what the race situation was, simply joining in when the peloton started sprinting. "That was a first for me my radio was not working and everyone was sprinting so thought the race was on oh well congrats to @OmegaPharmaQS," he tweeted after the race.

Bongo's brave effort

Brumbies hooker Josh Mann-Rea.
Brumbies hooker Josh Mann-Rea. Photo: Jamila Toderas

Josh "Bongo" Mann-Rea is far from the highest-paid Brumbies player, but he produced one of the gutsiest effort in the club's history. Mann-Rea tore his hamstring two weeks before the Brumbies' grand-final decider against the NSW Waratahs. Mann-Rea was the only fit hooker at the Brumbies after Stephen Moore and Siliva Siliva suffered season-ending injuries. Mann-Rea made a comeback against the Western Force, but tore his hamstring again with one of his first runs. In the qualifier final the next week, he thought he was good to go but tore it again with the opening run. Same story for the semi-final against the NSW Waratahs. But in all three games, he powered through 60 minutes of work. Now he's out of action for up to eight weeks. An impressive effort and he's set to be rewarded with a new Brumbies contract this week.

Raiders win over a fan

Brumby Jack.
Brumby Jack. 

It was a loss that had a lot of Raiders fans covering their eyes or leaving Canberra Stadium early, but last Sunday's 54-18 loss to the New Zealand Warriors was a game Raiders member Ryan Finn will always remember fondly. Finn, who has been struggling with a few health issues, travelled from Brisbane to Canberra last week to watch the Raiders play live for the first time. The Raiders organised for Finn to attend the team’s final training session before Sunday’s game and he also had the chance to toss the coin for skipper Terry Campese."Speaking to Ricky Stuart about football was amazing ... and then OMG meeting every player and chatting one on one with them I nearly cried," Finn wrote. "I was a kid in a candy store. If that is what being part of the Raiders Family is I am in for life."

Kyrgios down to his briefs

Raiders member Ryan Finn with Reece Robinson, Jarrod Croker, Anthony Milford and Josh McCrone.
Raiders member Ryan Finn with Reece Robinson, Jarrod Croker, Anthony Milford and Josh McCrone. Photo: Supplied

Don't be surprised if you see Nick Kyrgios popping up in underwear commercials in the near future. Kyrgios was a man in demand after his impressive Wimbledon campaign last month and Locker Room has heard Bonds wanted the Canberra teenager for a photo shoot when he was back in Australia. Kyrgios obliged. The 19-year-old is starting to build a strong off-court brand, with Nike one of his major backers. Now he's decided to go into the underwear world. We wonder if his television ads will be as successful as Pat Rafter's.

Glasgow kiss for Duke

Nick Kyrgios.
Nick Kyrgios. Photo: Getty Images

Canberra judo player Duke Didier finished fourth at the Commonwealth Games, but his dad, former Australian Wallabies prop, Geoff Didier, reckons young Duke had another highlight. "One of the highlights of the Commonwealth Games for him was Anna Flanagan giving him a kiss,'' Geoff laughed. Flanagan, is of course, the Hockeyroos' glamour girl also from Canberra. Geoff was there in Manchester to support Duke at his maiden Commonwealth Games. "We were so incredibly proud. It wasn't us hopping on the mat and getting our heads potentially knocked off, we were still very nervous. It's still a buzz for us.'' Didier was back on the sidelines on Saturday supporting another child, daughter Renee featuring for Royals in the ACT women's rugby grand final. Renee is in her first year in the sport, playing at tight-head prop just like dad. "Her mother's not as pleased as we are, but it's great to see.'' Royals lost to Uni-Norths 27-12.