Canberra Raiders

From Academic Kids

The Canberra Raiders are a National Rugby League team based in Canberra, Australia.

The Raiders were admitted to the NSWRL (New South Wales Rugby League) competition in 1982. They were the first club outside of Sydney to be admitted to the league, as they started their first national expansion in 1982.

Their initial team colours were Green and White. They hadn't initially named the team, however the name Raiders was coined by the media in describing the new Canberran team, and was adopted as the formal name.

In 1981, before their admission to the league, the Raiders held a competition for the design of their football jerseys, which saw the original green jersey design, by winning entrant Ms Patricia Taylor.

The official symbol for the Canberra Raiders is a viking. The viking, also a mascot at Raiders' games, is known as Victor the Viking.

The Raider's home grounds were Seiffert Oval, Queanbeyan (1982-1989), and currently Canberra Stadium, Bruce, Canberra (1990-)

Within a few years, the Raiders had signed up a mixture of interstate talent such as players Mal Meninga, Dean Lance, John 'Chicka' Ferguson, Ashley Gilbert and Chris O'Sullivan.

Additionally, the Raiders had signed some young local talent, whom later moved through the ranks to become some of the most talented and respected players in the league, such as Laurie Daley, Glenn Lazarus, Ricky Stuart and Bradley Clyde.

On the field

1982-86

The club's initial seasons were a mixed bag, the expected heavy defeats in the first year ensued (characterised by late game collaspes which lead to a nickname used by some - the Canberra Faders). In fact no team has conceded more tries in a season than the Raiders did that year. The club's first win, a 12-11 heartstopper v Newtown, came in its 8th match, and 3 more wins followed, most notably against Souths, who were leading the competition at the time.

1983 saw 9 wins, more than doubling 1982's four. Winning away from Seiffert was proving a difficult task, however.

An away win first up in 1984 foreshadowed a much improved season, a positive winning record (13-11) which snagged a playoff for fifth versus Souths. But this game was lost (4-23), and a semifinal berth still beckoned.

1985 saw regression, winning only 8 games (the reserves did manage a Grand Final appearance, though, losing to St. George). But in 1986, although results were again poor, the team now contained several players, such as Mal Meninga, Gary Belcher, Steve Walters, and John Ferguson who would greatly influence the coming decade.

1987-1995

A 9 year period of success (barring 1992) for the Raiders, 5 Grand Finals, 3 Premierships, and arguably one of the greatest clubs sides ever (1994)

In 1987, the team finished third, and thus making the semis for the first time. A loss in their first final versus Easts, didn't dampen the spirits but produced two scintillating efforts, firstly against Souths (46-12), and then up against Easts again, a 32-24 win gained a first ever Grand Final. But they were never in the hunt against Manly (the seasons leading team), and in a lacklustre game went down 8-18. Laurie Daley and Glenn Lazarus debuted this year for the Green Machine.

1988 featured free-scoring (over 100 tries in 22 games) and a number of large victories, again netting third place. Alas, a narrow loss against Canterbury in the Major Preliminary semi was followed a uninspired loss against a determined Balmain, and an early exit. Other greats to debut in 1988 were Bradley Clyde and Ricky Stuart.

With 5 rounds to play in 1989 season, Canberra were 7th and in danger of missing the semis. But a hard fought 14-10 win over Easts set in motion 9 consecutive victories which netted the club's first Premiership. In one of the all-time great Grand Finals, after trailing the Balmain Tigers 2-12 at break, and surviving a number of close calls that would've been the death knell, a late John Ferguson try and steely conversion from Mal Meninga sent the game into extra time. After Chris O'Sullivan had edged them ahead, a famous Steve Jackson try sealed a momentous win.

1990 was a stellar year, with all three grades making the Grand Final, only the reserves losing. The first grade side picked up their first Minor Premiership, and a second consecutive title, defeating Penrith in the decider. Brett Mullins makes his debut.

Trouble brewed in 1991 as the club was embroiled in salary cap hardships. Nonetheless, a fourth Grand Final was secured - the third in a row - however, in a game that could have been very well won, they went down in close game to Penrith. Jason Croker commenced his career.

The fallout from the salary cap embroglio saw several players leave the club, mainly forwards (e.g. Glenn Lazarus, David Barnhill and Nigel Gaffey). An average performance followed, and the finals were missed for the first time since 1986. David Furner, son of former Raiders and Australian coach Don Furner, comes on board.

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