Thousands of Canberrans will don a jersey and take a seat on the couch tonight to watch the Raiders go head to head with the Melbourne Storm in an elimination final.
And yet again, ‘The Butcher’ has your dinner sorted.
Peter Lindbeck has been churning out green-coloured sausages at his Queanbeyan butcher shop for every major Canberra Raiders final since 1987.
“My dad used to play bowls, and I remember that for St Patrick’s Day, the bowling club would turn the beer green,” he says.
“He and I just took it from there. Our thing can be green sausages for the Raiders.
“We just did it for a bit of a lark and there was very little interest at first – we probably only sold about 20 kg.”
But by the 2019 NRL Grand Final between the Raiders and Sydney Roosters, the sausages had become a firm fixture of local fan culture.
“We would have sold about 350 kg of them in that week – a third of a tonne,” Peter says. “It’s a full-scale stampede of interest. Every second phone call I get is about the green sausages.”
As a tried and true local, Peter is well placed near the spiritual home of the Raiders – Seiffert Oval on Thurralilly Street in Queanbeyan. Years spent playing with the Queanbeyan Whites and Blues also put him alongside several sporting legends, including David Furner and Ricky Stuart.
“They were, of course, a bit younger than me, but I was running around with those blokes just out of school, and ever since, I’ve had a huge interest in their careers.”
Before the Raiders, Peter was a loyal Bulldogs supporter and admits there is still a hint of blue in him. Enough for one of his employees to be ashamed of his “turn to the dark side, but it’s always been awesome to support the local team”.
Peter says hungry supporters have come to his butcher shop from as far-flung places as Bourke to fill their eskies with the hallowed green sausages.
“Because it’s been going on for a couple of generations now, some are even bringing along their kids for the same hype they had as kids.”
As for the green colour, Peter jokes it was originally made from extracting the juice from lawn clippings at Seiffert Oval.
“But we’ve had to change a little bit due to regulations. We’d have to kill you if we told you exactly what it is.”
The “green machine” menu has now spread beyond the meat drawer.
Quan Nguyen at Vina Bakery in Wanniassa prepares green bread rolls, and in 2019, green loaves “wore” the names of players stencilled on the sides for the first time. For the 50th anniversary of the Raiders last year, Canberra Milk returned its pale green lime-flavoured milk to the shelves of grocery stores. The Hotel Queanbeyan (the ‘Top Pub’) even turned it into green cocktails.
And as for Saturday’s result?
“We might not make the sausages for another 10 years, but I think the Raiders are on a bit of a roll at the moment,” he says.
“I’m sure they’ll beat the Melbourne Storm.”
Storm v Raiders live from AAMI Park will be broadcast live on Nine this afternoon. Kick-off at 5:40 pm.