Every one a winner in centenary year
Ellie Brush, Sepi Langi, Christian Lealiifano, Phil Davis, Lauren Jackson, Cody Hightower and Josh McCrone at Manuka Oval on Wednesday. Photo: Colleen Petch
Canberra's elite sporting teams have come to the centenary party and Andrew Barr says it's up to the Canberra public to show its support by putting bums on seats if they want big-ticket sporting events to be a regular part of the ACT landscape.
The ACT sports minister has organised a bumper 2013, with almost every major sport hosting a significant event.
Now our national teams - the Capitals, Brumbies, Greater Western Sydney, Raiders, Darters, Cavalry and Canberra United - will wear one-off centenary uniforms for a designated game during the year.
The nation's capital will host an array of sporting events, including the Australian Women's Golf Open at Royal Canberra, the Australian cricket team playing at Manuka Oval for the first time and the British and Irish Lions taking on the Brumbies.
Our national rugby league team, the Kangaroos, will play the Anzac Test at Canberra Stadium, as will our netball team, the Diamonds, at AIS Arena. Facilities have been improved, with new lights at Manuka the main example.
With all the pieces in place, Barr said it was now up to Canberrans to make it a success. If they want to have these big-ticket games on a regular basis then they have to show the various sporting bodies they want them, saying: ''For rugby league Tests, if they sell out Canberra Stadium and they get 26-27,000 you look to the future and think, 'Is that the sort of crowd you would get for rugby league Tests?'
''Then [if it is] we get ourselves on the map for that fairly regularly.''
The Prime Minister's XI and one-day international, both against the West Indies, have nearly sold out already - a good sign for the future.
Negotiations are continuing with Football Federation Australia and Hockey Australia, with the former largely dependent on the Socceroos' qualification for the World Cup.
Our major sporting teams will also be involved, wearing their one-off jerseys, with fans encouraged to wear ''centenary yellow'' to the designated games. The Capitals kick it off, against Dandenong at AIS Arena on January 4.
Raiders halfback Josh McCrone said he'd love the chance to put aside the Raiders trademark green jersey when the Brisbane Broncos come to Canberra Stadium in June.
''It's always a bit of a thrill to run out in a different jumper, as much as I love the lime green,'' McCrone said.
''To wear the ACT colours, it's something I've never done before, it'd be a pleasure.''
The dates and games have been set for the Raiders, Brumbies, Capitals and Giants.
But dates won't be known for the Darters, Cavalry and United until next season's draws are done, although Cavalry will be the season opener.