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Locker Room

Using futsal's forgotten slab of land

IF YOU hadn't heard, the ACT is the country's undisputed leader in futsal. Canberra hosted the national championships last week and ACT took out both the men's and women's titles. The championships were held across five venues in Canberra but, interestingly, one of those wasn't the infamous futsal slab built in the 1990s at a cost of about $300,000. Built on prime real estate in Acton, the concrete slab has hosted its fair share of circus tents and acts as an overflow car park during Floriade. But if the government isn't going to use it for futsal, maybe they could take the signs down and allow some city workers to use it as a car park all year round.

Samson-like effort

IT'S NOT just the Jack Murphy fan club that has bought into the Canberra Cavalry catcher's moustache, Cavs starting pitcher John Holdzkom has adopted the facial hair as well. The 2.07-metre flinger with a 152km/h fastball put down his sensational stint on the mound last Sunday to his new mo (if you can spot it below). After growing the upper-lip appendage, he threw seven innings for six strikeouts and gave up no runs and just two hits.

Canberra contenders

CANBERRA has a Big Bash venue, and Locker Room has assembled a team capable of being a contender in the Twenty20 tournament. Drawn from players in action for other franchises, this line-up would give any rival a run for its money, especially given it's at least a couple of years before expansion becomes reality. Former Test wicketkeeper Brad Haddin would be the ideal choice to skipper his home-town club, with his sensational form with the bat suggesting the 35-year-old Queanbeyan product has several good years left in him. Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon learnt his craft at Manuka Oval and would be welcomed back with open arms, while all-rounder Will Sheridan and promising left-arm quick Jason Behrendorff have impressed with the Melbourne Renegades and Perth Scorchers respectively. As for the coach, former ACT Comets mentor Simon Helmot has pulled all the right strings with the top-of-the-table Renegades. We've cheekily thrown in a couple of Kiwi imports for good measure, hoping New Zealand great and now Canberra resident Chris Cairns can use his contacts to bolster the inaugural roster. Let us know what you think. Potential Canberra Big Bash team: Brad Haddin (c, wk), Nathan Lyon (Strikers), Ryan Carters (Thunder), Jason Floros (Thunder), Will Sheridan (Renegades), Mark Higgs (Hurricanes), Jason Behrendorff (Scorchers), Ben Oakley (supplementary Strikers), Jono Dean (supplementary Renegades), Ross Taylor (New Zealand), Brendon McCullum (New Zealand). Coach: Simon Helmot (Renegades)

Ground work

RAIDERS legend Laurie Daley has his own statue at Canberra Stadium and now has his own ground. The Laurie Daley Oval was opened in his home-town of Junee on Saturday in recognition of the Kangaroo and NSW playmaker's sensational career. Daley will get the keys to the entire state if he can end Queensland's State of Origin dominance and guide the Blues to victory in his first year in charge.

Gloves off

IF BARRY DUNNETT can't get the job done against Quade Cooper, Raiders winger Sandor Earl is willing to step in the ring. The ACT Brumbies will be hoping Dunnett does them a favour and puts Cooper out of commission for their Super Rugby season opener with the Queensland Reds on February 16. But if Dunnett proves to be just another chump thrown up to take on a boxer-turned-footballer, Earl's keen to show him how it's done. ''Putting it out there if Quade Cooper wins I will throw my hand up to fight him in his next fight!! #watageeup #doitforfree,'' Earl tweeted. Earl should know how to throw them - he spent his new year break training at a Muay Thai boxing camp in Thailand.

Small but powerful

THE Sydney to Hobart isn't just for the speedy super-maxis such as Wild Oats XI, as Queanbeyan skipper Grish Stromov proved aboard Local Hero. Stromov's yacht collected the Battery Point Trophy for being the first small boat across the finish line. Local Hero also finished third in its performance handicap division. In a further twist, there was a proposal mid-race, with two of the crew arriving in Tasmania engaged.


Similar name, same place

HE'S the Canberra kid with the same initials as Lleyton Hewitt who will get the opportunity of a lifetime at the Australian Open. Ngunnawal's Lachlan Hewatt is one of 12 juniors from around the country to receive a ''VIP'' trip to the first big match of the year as a nominee in the Tennis Hot Shot of the Year program. Lachlan will get to play on Rod Laver Arena before attending a gala awards night at the Melbourne Zoo. The winner receives $5000 thanks to sponsor MLC, one year of free tennis coaching and a visit by Tennis Hot Shots Ambassador Alicia Molik to their local tennis club for a private lesson with three friends.