BON JOVI'S This is Our House song will be dropped as the NRL's marketing campaign next season, but the NRL is still marching to the same tune when it comes to free-to-air coverage of Raiders matches. With acting NRL boss Shane Mattiske in town during the week, Locker Room took the opportunity to ask why the Green Machine continues to get dudded in free-to-air television coverage. Mattiske's explanation: ''The broadcasters have made some decisions to bring through certain teams into those Friday night slots … As we plan the 2014 and 2015 seasons, again it will depend on the broadcasters' view on the value of bringing through certain teams and it'll also depend on the performance of those individual teams. So, if the Raiders continue to push forward and play as strongly as they did in the 2012 season, you would expect to see them feature in more and more free-to-air games.'' We don't expect that at all. Renew your Foxtel subscription for Christmas, Raiders fans, because according to Channel Nine, the Green Machine just doesn't rate.
Hard yakka for Raiders
There aren’t too many Raiders carrying extra kilos, with new strength and conditioning coach Nigel Ashley Jones getting raps for his work since joining the club in the pre-season. One of the gruelling tests for Raiders each week so far has been a 1.2km time trial, to try to build up the endurance of players. Australian prop David Shillington, who joined the Raiders pre-season late after getting married on the Sunshine Coast, reports he lost 3kg in his first week back. The photo at the top of this page shows Raiders winger Dimitri Pelo trying to cool down after a rigorous workout.
Lean team picks rookie Santa
THE RAIDERS broke with tradition at their Christmas party on Thursday night. The player with the highest skinfold measurements has traditionally been appointed Santa to give out presents to the children of players and staff. But this year, the role was handed to newcomer Scott Jones, who is impressing in training and close to earning a full-time contract. As for the Raiders player carrying the most Christmas pud, apparently skipper Terry Campese was seen letting his belt out.
Former Raiders keep looking
NO UPDATES yet on their NRL futures, but dumped Raiders Trevor Thurling and Travis Waddell are still hoping the new year brings a fresh start. Thurling was spotted lunching in Manuka during the week and looking fit. Although he's happy to play with the Queanbeyan Blues in the Canberra competition next season, Thurling is training hard in case an NRL spot opens up. Waddell has been in discussions with NRL clubs, but nothing has eventuated yet.
Execs may hop codes, too
THERE has been plenty of code-hopping lately, with Sonny Bill Williams coming back from rugby union to league and Israel Folau switching from AFL to union. But Locker Room is hearing whispers that there could be some changes to the boards of the Canberra Raiders and ACT Brumbies, with some board members crossing codes. Stay tuned for possible news in the new year.
A swing and a splash
IT'S BEEN plagued by blue-green algae but could Lake Burley Griffin become one of the world's biggest golf greens? ACT Sport and Recreation is looking to bring out a calendar of recreational events to run almost every weekend next year and one of the activities involves hitting golf balls into the lake. A supplier of floating golf balls has been found.
Golf season pass giveaway
'TIS THE season for giving, so here's Locker Room's gift to our readers. We have four season passes to the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open of golf valued at $336. The tournament will be staged at Royal Canberra Golf Club for the first time, from February 14 to 17, as part of the centenary of Canberra celebrations and will comprise some of the biggest names in women's golf, including former World No.1 Karrie Webb. For your chance to win the tickets, tell us which daughter of a former professional tennis player won this year's Australian Women's Open? Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org - the first four to answer correctly will get a prize.
Journo's got form on the pitch
WE'RE proud to report that Canberra Times sports journo Fleta Page did us proud by taking to the mound for the opening pitch at the Canberra Cavalry's match against the Brisbane Bandits on Thursday night. Fleta threw down some serious heat and the catcher did not have to move as her fastball sizzled over the plate. While Fleta is obviously a natural, others struggle. None more so than Mariah Carey. The diva's effort in this YouTube clip (youtube.com/watch?v=U5r4YRzIf9k) almost made former Australian prime minister John Howard seem like a decent cricket bowler (youtube.com/watch?v=0o8by05rtMY). Raiders prop David Shillington fared better during his turn on Friday night, the Maroons representative enjoying cheers from the travelling Bandits. ''I hadn't been to a game before, but I loved it and will definitely be back,'' Shillington said. ''It was nice to hear a few Queenslander calls.''