Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Mystique of The Canberra Raiders

The Mystique of The Canberra Raiders

By Graeme Wong
Spirit News
October 11, 2072

The Canberra Raiders are an Australian professional rugby league football club based in the national capital city of Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. They have competed in Australasia's elite rugby league competition, the National Rugby League (NRL) premiership since 1982. Over this period the club has won 3 premierships, (out of 5 Grand Finals played), received 1 wooden spoon and had a total of 15 of its players (9 New South Wales Blues and 6 Queensland Maroons) selected to don the green and gold for Australia. The Raiders' current home ground is Canberra Stadium in Bruce. Previously, the team played home matches at Seiffert Oval in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, with the move to Canberra Stadium taking place in 1990. The official symbol for the Canberra Raiders is the Viking. The Viking, also a mascot at Raiders' games, is known as Victor the Viking.

As part of the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership's first expansion outside Sydney, the Raiders were admitted to the League, along with the Illawarra Steelers in 1982. Over the following years they improved steadily, reaching a playoff for 5th in their third season, and becoming the first non-Sydney team to make the finals (1987), feature in a grand final (1987) and win a premiership (1989). This heralded a period of great success for the club, with five grand final appearances and three premierships in eight years. During this period, the Raiders boasted international players such as Mal Meninga, Laurie Daley, Ricky Stuart, Glenn Lazarus, Bradley Clyde, Gary Belcher, Brett Mullins and Steve Walters. After this came the Super League war, with the Raiders switching to the rebel competition before continuing to compete in the re-unified NRL.

Since inception, the Raiders' team colours have been lime green and white with blue and gold bands. In recent years, the "away" strip for the team has been mostly white, with lime green, blue and gold bands. The lime green was chosen as the main colour as it differentiated the side from other club's colours. The blue and gold were included in the Raiders colours as they are the traditional sporting colours of the Australian Capital Territory.

The original jersey's design was chosen through a competition held by the club in 1981. The winning entrant was Ms Patricia Taylor, whose design was duly adopted.

The Raiders' largest ever winning margin was 68 points, when they defeated the Parramatta Eels 68-0 during the 1993 NSWRL season. Their worst loss was in the 2013 NRL season when the Melbourne Storm dealt a 4-68 defeat. Canberra have won eleven consecutive games twice, in 1990 and in 1995.

Jason Croker has played the most games for the Raiders with 318 between 1991 and 2006. He also holds the club's all-time try scoring record with 120. David Furner is Canberra's highest ever point scorer with 1,218 (49 tries, 511 goals) between 1992 and 2000. Notable supporters of the club include Formula One driver Mark Webber, Brad Haddin, Brendan Jones, Bob Hawke, Michael Milton, James O'Loghlin and Erin Molan.