Up the Milk baby! It's back and just in time to give the Canberra Raiders a massive boost on the eve of the NRL finals.
Canberra Milk will return as the Raiders' major sponsor for the 2021 season as the Green Machine prepares to face the Cronulla Sharks in the NRL elimination final at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.
Not only that, but the Green Machine are in talks with two other companies about taking over the major sponsorship mantle for 2022 and beyond.
Discussions are so advanced one of them could be locked in before the start of next season.
The Raiders were inundated with interest when Huawei announced they were pulling out as major sponsors after nine years at the helm.
It's believed up to nine companies contacted the Green Machine to discuss taking over from the Chinese telecommunications giant, despite the coronavirus pandemic wreaking economic havoc.
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Since then talks have progressed quickly and a deal was announced on Monday.
Canberra Milk is one of only three Raiders premiership jerseys, having been the major sponsor for the 1994 triumph.
It led to the war cry "Up the Milk", which was revived during the Raiders' charge to their first grand final in 24 years last season.
It's a cry that will no doubt be erupting around Canberra Stadium on Saturday where the ACT government will allow 9600 fans - the biggest crowd allowed at the venue since round one and the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
Capitol Chilled Foods Australia managing director Steve Ness said the return fitted in perfectly with Canberra Milk's 50th anniversary next year.
They'd opened talks to extend their sleeve sponsorship when the opportunity to return to the front of the jersey came up.
"This year's been tough for most businesses so there has been some big discussion around sponsorship and how we spend our money, but this is one of our key partners," Ness said.
"We've been with these guys for a long time so it was never on the table that we were not going to support them.
"We were just wondering how we were going to support them and the way it's landed - it's landed perfectly for both of us."
Canberra Milk has been etched in the minds of Raiders fans thanks to Mal Meninga lifting the premiership trophy in '94, the creation of lime green milk and former skipper Terry Campese agreeing to sit in a bath of it for a promotion.
Raiders chief executive Don Furner said both brands were two of the most recognised in the ACT.
"We hit a bit of a bad patch a month ago and they stepped straight up," Furner said.
"The Canberra Milk brand - if you regularly look at the most well-known brands in Canberra - Canberra Milk and the Canberra Raiders are always in the top five.
"To have two iconic brands together, back on the front, is fantastic for Canberra and fantastic for us."
Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has more than fond memories of the Canberra Milk jersey, having played in that '94 premiership.
That jersey is one of the most iconic in NRL history and while the current major sponsorship deal might be below what Huawei was paying, it's thought an expected spike in jersey sales could more than make up for that.
Green Machine fans have already expressed an interest in buying the jersey, which won't be on sale until later in the year.
Stuart was hoping to hear the "Up the Milk" cry in full force on Saturday, especially with tickets almost completely sold out on Monday.
"I remember this great jumper here. I played in it myself. Great memories," Stuart said.
"Just from the buzz you hear around town, talking to mates I think [tickets will] be snapped up.
"It's great. It's what the players want, it's what we need.
"We're very fortunate to get a home semi-final and to get our first one here in front of a larger crowd will be exciting for many people who have missed the opportunity of going to games this year.
"It's been a very tough year, but I'm sure there'll be some excited people at the game on Saturday night."
NRL ELIMINATION FINAL
Saturday: Canberra Raiders v Cronulla Sharks, 5.40pm.