From the Viking Vault

Canberra Raiders history

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Chicka Chicka Chicka
Glenn Lazarus
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Re: From the Viking Vault

Post by Chicka Chicka Chicka »

I’ve always thought Graeme Hughes in commentary was trying desperately to ride Manly home throughout. Classic match.
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greeneyed
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Re: From the Viking Vault

Post by greeneyed »

Incredible comeback at Belmore



2018. It was another season of missed opportunity for the Canberra Raiders after the Preliminary Final appearance of 2016. There were a whole host of narrow losses, but in the end the Green Machine finished in 10th place for a second year running - and a full 10 competition points adrift of the top eight. But there were some high points.

In Round 17, Canberra travelled to Belmore for a clash with the Canterbury Bulldogs. The Raiders were placed ninth on the ladder, but as they were six competition points away from the eighth placed Brisbane Broncos, they were in "must win" territory.

However, the Raiders played poorly for much of the match. The team looked flat, the defence was too often found wanting, the discipline was poor and there were too many errors. It was not a performance from a team that had their season on the line.



Blake Austin had cost his team a win with his defensive lapses in Brisbane against the Broncos in Round 16. He had been dropped to the bench for the Bulldogs clash - and was probably fortunate to be a part of the top 17. He spent much of the match prowling up and down the sideline.

Austin came onto the field with a quarter of an hour remaining - but the Bulldogs went to a 14 point lead with just over seven minutes left on the clock. It looked like a certain defeat for Canberra. However, Austin was not finished. With 5:30 minutes left on the clock, he sliced through the Canterbury defensive line for an individual four pointer.

The Raiders then lost Brad Abbey, knocked out with less than four minutes remaining - and it again looked grim. But then Siliva Havili stripped the ball from the Dogs one on one and Joe Tapine crossed with just over two minutes left. Finally, with less than 90 seconds remaining, Austin made a huge break down the left touchline - and Joey Leilua finished the job with the clock reading 79:05.

After two years filled with last gasp defeats, the Canberra Raiders finally were on the right end of an absolute heart breaker. Blake Austin had inspired one of the most remarkable comebacks in the Green Machine's history.



Coach Ricky Stuart knew the Raiders had been handed a "get out jail free" card.

"They [the Bulldogs] should have won, we were pathetic tonight," Stuart said after the match.

"It's not something I say a hell of a lot about this team because we have been on the receiving end of that for a couple of years now where we've probably been the better team and yet we've been run down or lost the close ones."

"We were trying to take short-cuts tonight. We didn't do anything to earn the right to play footy at them. We were poor and undisciplined."

"Blake [Austin], he's copped a lot this week and he's had a tough week, and I feel really good for Blake right now because he won that for us. Just coming on and giving us that bit of extra spark and then BJ [Leilua] scoring that try in that right corner was good to get it."

2018 Round 17 - Canberra Raiders 32 (B. Austin, J. Croker, J. Leilua Kelemete, J. Tapine, S. Williams, N. Čotrić tries; J. Croker 4 goals) defeated Canterbury Bulldogs 28 (R. Martin 3, J. Marshall-King tries; R. Martin 6 goals) at Belmore Sports Ground

Canberra Raiders: 1. Brad Abbey 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker (C) 4. Joey Leilua 5. Michael Oldfield 6. Sam Williams 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Dunamis Lui 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Shannon Boyd 11. Joe Tapine 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Siliva Havili

14. Blake Austin 15. Junior Paulo 16. Liam Knight 17. Sia Soliola

Coach Ricky Stuart

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Re: From the Viking Vault

Post by greeneyed »

Lance smashes Roach

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A long remembered moment in the 1989 Grand Final, Dean Lance - captain until midway through the 1989 season - led from the front when he took on Balmain's best prop, Steve "Blocker" Roach.

He stopped the huge man dead, a ball and all crunching tackle in the 7th minute, lifting the spirits of the Green Machine and inspiring his fellow forwards.

"I don't think I realised the significance it would have. I don't think the tackle hurt either of us, but I remember everyone saying how good it was for the team. Balmain had started to get on a bit of a roll and it turned the game a bit" Lance recalled later.

The look on Roach's face when he stood belied the claim the tackle had not hurt. It is one of the most famous defensive plays in Raiders history.
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From the Viking Vault

Post by greeneyed »

“Salary cap” match

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The Canberra Raiders just snuck into the top eight in 2002, in eighth place. It was a young Raiders outfit - and they won just 10 of 24 matches under new coach Matthew Elliott. Canberra also won only one match away from home - against the Wests Tigers at Stadium Australia. It was a remarkable effort for the Raiders to recover from a horror start to the season - winning just one of their first six matches.

Canberra’s victory over the Bulldogs was the most emotion charged of the season - and one of the most memorable matches at Canberra Stadium. It took place in Round 24 - and even before the match, it was a day of high drama. On the Friday before the match, after weeks of scandal surrounding the Bulldogs' salary cap cheating, NRL CEO David Gallop announced Canterbury's punishment. They were stripped of 37 competition points - and fell from top of the ladder, on 41 competition points, to last. They were fined $500,000. The entire Bulldogs board resigned. And it significantly improved the chances for the 11th placed Raiders to grab a finals place.

Thousands of Bulldogs fans travelled to Canberra on the Sunday, and gathered at the southern end of the ground. It was a sea of blue and white fans. They were angry with the NRL, they were angry with the club management, but wanted to show support for their team. Bulldogs club legend Steve Mortimer put his hand up to fix the mess and when he visited the Bulldogs fans in the inner bowl, he was mobbed, greeted as a saviour. A number of Raiders fans carried large wooden spoons around the ground.

The Bulldogs seemed shell-shocked in the early stages and the Raiders were on fire. It was soon 18-0, with the Green Machine at top gear, putting on three converted tries. And by half time, Canberra looked well in control, leading 28-10. One team was clearly still in the hunt for the finals. After the break, however, the Bulldogs staged a huge comeback, scoring 24 points. It was helter-skelter football. It was only after the Bulldogs' half Brent Sherwin kicked out on the full from a line drop out in the final minute that the Raiders' victory look safe. Clinton Schifcofske kicked the ensuing penalty goal from in front, wrapping up the epic 38-34 victory. It was a good win for the young Raiders, over an illegally assembled team that had been cruising to a minor premiership.

2002 Round 24 - Canberra Raiders 38 (Ryan O'Hara 2, Darren Mapp, Mark McLinden, Todd Payten, Ruben Wiki tries, Clinton Schifcofske 7 goals) defeated Canterbury Bulldogs 34 (Nigel Vagana 3, Hazel El Masri, Luke Patten, Matt Utai tries, Hazem El Masri 5 goals) at Canberra Stadium

Canberra Raiders: 1. Clinton Schifcofske 4. Joel Monaghan 3. Jason Croker 19. Rod Jensen 5. Mark Asbock 6. Mark McLinden 7. B Finch 8. Todd Payten 9. Simon Woolford 10. Ryan O'Hara 11. Ruben Wiki 12. Michael Hodgson 13. Terry Martin

14. Alan Tongue 15. Darren Mapp 16. Sean Rutgerson

Coach Matthew Elliott

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Re: From the Viking Vault

Post by Finchy »

14. Alan Tongue 15. Darren Mapp 16. Sean Rutgerson
We only played with 3 reserves I see...
Ata Mariota’s #1 fan. Bless his cotton socks.
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Re: From the Viking Vault

Post by greeneyed »

1987 finals run... and a first Grand Final

Canberra made the semi finals for the first time in 1987 - under the guidance of co-coaches Don Furner and Wayne Bennett. The Raiders dropped out of the top five just once that season, after a three game losing streak between Rounds 9 and 11. Three games out from the finals, the Raiders were running fifth, but a three game winning streak saw the Green Machine finish in third - earning a crucial "second bite at the cherry" in the finals.

Canberra had lost narrowly to the Sea Eagles in Round 23, 20-18, after captain Dean Lance was sent off in the first half - but they bounced back in style against the Bulldogs at Seiffert the following week. The Raiders blanket defence was outstanding, with the Dogs failing to cross for a try in the 22-4 victory for the Green Machine. The Raiders scored five, and the margin would have been much greater, but the goal kicking duo of Gary Belcher and Matthew Corkery could only produce one goal (Corkery) from seven attempts.

In Round 25, the Raiders travelled to Sydney for a clash with the Rabbitohs - a match billed as a farewell to Redfern Oval for South Sydney. In 1988, the Rabbitohs planned to move their home to the new Sydney Football Stadium. But the Raiders spoiled the farewell party for the 18.572 home crowd, burying the Rabbitohs 26-2 in a five tries to nil thrashing.

In the final match of the regular season, Roosters coach Arthur Beetson controversially rested a number of key players - as his team had already secured second place on the ladder. Many pundits suggested the Roosters were also deliberately "playing" the Raiders into third - as they preferred to face them in Week 1 of the finals. The Raiders won 22-18 at Henson - setting up a rematch the next week with the outfit from Sydney's eastern suburbs.



And despite losing the major preliminary semi-final against the Roosters, the Raiders left a trail of destruction in subsequent matches on the way to the Grand Final. The 46-12 finals victory over Souths will long be remembered for the repeated kicks to, and repeated fumbles from, Rabbitohs winger Steve Mavin. Then Mal Meninga returned from a broken arm – along with huge protective arm guard - for the preliminary final against the Roosters. The enduring memory of 32-24 victory was Mal Meninga trampling over the top of Easts forward, David Trewhella, on the way to the try line, leaving Trewhella sick and sorry on the ground. It had been the Raiders third clash in a month with the Roosters, but Canberra came out on top. After just six seasons in the competition, the Raiders had qualified for their first Grand Final.

The Raiders went down to the Sea Eagles 18-8 in the decider and the fairy tale was over. But the brilliant attacking football played by the Raiders in the 1987 finals run had placed the nation's capital under a spell - and would be long remembered by Canberra fans.

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Re: From the Viking Vault

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21 minute blitz produces huge comeback victory



In 2008, the Raiders were languishing in 12th position on the ladder after Round 17, after a loss to the Storm at Olympic Stadium. But then Canberra went on a late season charge to the finals, with half Terry Campese in a purple patch of form.

The Raiders had climbed into sixth place after a record 74-12 win over the Panthers, but their position in the top eight was by no means secure when they travelled to Stadium Australia for a Round 24 clash with South Sydney.

The Raiders scored first, when winger Adrian Purtell intercepted a Nathan Merritt pass intended for Luke Capewell - and he ran just 10 metres to score. Terry Campese converts. Raiders 6-nil. But things looked grim on the score board at half time when the Raiders trailed the 14th placed Rabbitohs, 19-6.

Things looked grim on the injury front too. Halfback Marc Herbert and Troy Thompson suffered season ending injuries. The injury situation was so serious, Alan Tongue and Neville Costigan were forced to take stints at halfback.

But in a 21 minute blitz in the second half, the Raiders piled on five tries - much to the delight of the largest travelling contingent of Canberra supporters at a Sydney match in years.

Terry Campese, clearly man of the match, continued his unstoppable form. He had a hand in four tries.

''Coming in after full-time winning makes it a little bit better, but knowing those two are out [Herbert and Thompson] is still pretty upsetting,'' Campese said after the match.

''To tough it out in those circumstances is great for the team. We've got a fair tally of injuries, but the boys that have been coming in and playing the best footy of their lives.''

Coach Neil Henry was pleased with the character shown by his team.

''I suppose the biggest thing out of this game was the character we showed in the second half,'' he said after the game.

''Full credit to the way the boys did that, I take my hat off to them. Would we have come back like that last year? I don't think so. I think the character of the side has improved with the confidence amongst the players.''

"Character" summed up the performance for centre Colin Best as well.

''The last few weeks we've sort of blown some teams away and had good leads at half-time and really gone on with it,'' he said.

''This was a real good test of us and we showed good character to come back. We know we can score points, we just had to play to our game plan and stay disciplined and we did.''

The Raiders remained in sixth on the ladder and were just two competition points behind the fourth-placed Sydney Roosters and one behind the fifth-placed Brisbane Broncos. If they could win their final two games against North Queensland and the Bulldogs, the Raiders were still a chance of earning an unlikely home semi-final.

However the injuries were starting to seriously take their toll. As well as Herbert and Thompson, Alan Tongue and Glen Buttriss left the field with injuries late in the Homebush match. Only 17 fit players were left for the next week.

Six second half tries and a 21 minute blitz

43rd minute On the last tackle, Terry Campese grubbered the ball into the Rabbitohs in goal. The ball bounced off the foot of David Fa'alogo and into the hands of Joe Picker for a freakish four pointer.

48th minute Colin Best continued his rampaging try scoring form, with the movement starting from the Raiders own 30-metre line. Alan Tongue passed the ball to Adrian Purtell, who moved it on to Best on the left hand touchline. Best fended off a defended before evading Nathan Merritt to score in the corner. The Raiders trailed by three.

57th minute Joel Monaghan made a break down the right hand sideline but was stopped five metres out from the Rabbitohs' line. A Campese pass for Adrian Purtell gives "Purts" his second try of the match. The Raiders took the lead 22-19.

60th minute Brett Kelly intercepts a long pass from Chris Sandow and he scores beside the post. The Raiders led 28-19.

64th minute Alan Tongue made a break and passed to an unmarked David Milne on his outside. Milne sprinted 40 metres to the try line for another long range Green Machine try. The Raiders went to a 34-19 lead.

69th minute On the last tackle, Adrian Purtell took advantage of an overlap and passed back inside for Joel Monaghan, who joined the list of try scorers. The Raiders had posted 40 points.

2008 Round 24 – Canberra Raiders 40 (Adrian Purtell 2, Joe Picker, Colin Best, Brett Kelly, David Milne, Joel Monaghan tries, Terry Campese 6 goals) defeated South Sydney Rabbitohs 25 (Luke Capewell, Beau Champion, Issac Luke, Chris Sandow tries, Issac Luke 2, Chris Sandow 2 goals) at Stadium Australia

Canberra Raiders: 1. David Milne 2. Adrian Purtell 3. Colin Best 4. Joel Monaghan 5. Brett Kelly 6. Terry Campese 7. Marc Herbert 8. Troy Thompson 9. Glen Buttriss 10. Dane Tilse 11. Marshall Chalk 12. Joe Picker 13. Alan Tongue (C)

14. Trevor Thurling 15. Josh Miller 16. Neville Costigan 17. Scott Logan

Coach Neil Henry

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Re: From the Viking Vault

Post by greeneyed »

Raiders blow the Panthers off the park

Canberra met Penrith at the Sydney Football Stadium in the second week of the 1989 finals. Penrith had finished second on the ladder, the Raiders equal fifth, but it was Green Machine that was firing on all cylinders on their way to the club’s first premiership.

The Raiders scored the first try after 10 minutes, with Penrith fullback Neil Baker dropping the ball in goal after a jolting John Ferguson tackle - handing Laurie Daley an easy try. The Raiders were in again in the 26th minute, with winger Matt Wood making a 45 metre run down the sideline to score under the posts. He was close to going over the dead ball line as he grounded it, but referee Mick Stone awarded the four pointer - and the Green Machine went to a 10-2 lead. But a pair of tries to the Panthers either side of the break put the Chocolate Soldiers in front, 12-11.

Coach Tim Sheens blasted his team at half time, even though they had led 11-7 - accusing his team of lacking intensity and reading too much of their own publicity. The blast eventually kicked in. Some spectacular football saw Canberra score 17 points in 22 minutes to blow the Panthers away in the second half. When the attack clicked in 1989, Canberra was unstoppable. Paul Martin – on the field for just one minute – scored in the corner after the ball went through 11 pairs of hands. It was followed by four pointers to John Ferguson and then Kevin Walters, off a great pass from brother Steve.

Sheens was frank in explaining his half time blast after the match, saying the team "believed their own press" and "were obviously over-confident".

"They were being touted as favourites all around the place and that sort of thing can eventually get to you, no matter how hard you try to ignore it," Sheens said.

"Some of them obviously thought they would win it easily. You can talk and talk about it, but it doesn't always make the difference."

Man of the match, Dean Lance, backed his coach's assessment.

"The team was a little bit down in its intensity today, I don't think anyone will be all that happy with the way we played. The intensity certainly wasn't as great as it was against Cronulla last week and if we do the same things against Balmain or Souths next week, we will lose."

However, the next two weeks would prove that the Raiders had learned their lesson.

1989 Minor Semi Final – Canberra Raiders 27 (Laurie Daley, John Ferguson, Paul Martin, Matt Wood, Kevin Walters tries, Chris O’Sullivan 2, Matt Wood goals, Ricky Stuart field goal) defeated Penrith Panthers 18 (Brad Izzard, Paul Smith, Colin Van der Voort tries, Neil Baker 3 goals) at Sydney Football Stadium

Canberra Raiders: 1. Gary Belcher 2. Matthew Wood 3. Mal Meninga 4. Laurie Daley 5. John Ferguson 6. Chris O'Sullivan 7. Ricky Stuart 8. Brent Todd 9. Steve Walters 10. Glenn Lazarus 11. Gary Coyne 12. Dean Lance 13. Bradley Clyde

14. Paul Martin 15. Kevin Walters 16. Mark Lowry 17. Wayne Collins

Coach Tim Sheens

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Re: From the Viking Vault

Post by greeneyed »

Record 11 game winning streaks

The Raiders have twice produced their record winning streak of 11 in a row.

The first saw the Raiders undefeated from July 30, 1989 to March 25, 1990. It included the nine victories in a row that Canberra needed to take the 1989 crown. But it did not include the four matches of the 1990 pre-season Challenge - meaning Canberra had not lost on Australian soil for 15 games in a row in total. The only loss in the period came in the World Club Challenge in England against Widnes, following the 1989 Grand Final. The streak came to an end in the round three match at Bruce Stadium, when the Bulldogs held Canberra tryless, winning 6-2.

The Raiders equalled the record in 1994-95. It started with the Preliminary Final win over the Bears on September 18, included the 1994 Grand Final and lasted until May 7, 1995. It ended in dramatic fashion when the Sea Eagles defeated Canberra 16-8 at Bruce Stadium in front of a crowd of 24,781. It also brought to an end a 25 game run of wins at home for the Green Machine. The Raiders would ultimately be beaten to the minor premiership by the Sea Eagles, but only on differential, with both teams finishing on 40 competition points. The loss to the Sea Eagles was also just one of three for the whole season, but the final one to the Dogs would cost Canberra another shot at a Grand Final.
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Re: From the Viking Vault

Post by greeneyed »

And that’s the final daily edition of our summer series, “From the Viking Vault”.

If your favourite games or moments haven’t been covered... let us know and we will add some through the season.
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Re: From the Viking Vault

Post by Billy Walker »

greeneyed wrote: January 6, 2019, 11:24 am First shot at the finals

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With just two matches left in the 1984 season – against Penrith and Canterbury – the Canberra Raiders were teetering on the edge of missing the finals, in seventh spot.

It was not looking good when the Raiders trailed the Panthers at half time at Seiffert Oval in Round 25. But Canberra came back with four brilliant tries to overwhelm the opposition 30-10 - despite playing with just 12 men after Gary Spears was sent off 15 minutes into the second half.

Sadly, Canberra could not back up. The Raiders were smashed 36-0 on the Saturday afternoon in Round 26 at Belmore by the Bulldogs. The season looked all but over. If Penrith could beat Parramatta the next day, the Raiders would miss the finals. And if Souths, Illawarra or Balmain were to win, then play offs for the last spot in the finals could ensue.

Ron Giteau later remembered that the team had drinks at David Grant’s house on the Sunday as they waited for the results to come through. As it turned out, Penrith could not prevail over the Eels and make the finals for the first time in their 17 year history. Nor could Balmain or Illawarra produce a win. But when Souths beat Norths, the Rabbitohs finished equal fifth with Canberra on 30 competition points – and with a better for and against points differential. Giteau remembered: "We thought, that’s it, we’ll have a few drinks. Then when the results went our way we all looked at each other and thought, ‘****, we’ve got to aim up again on Tuesday’."



The match was played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Canberra’s first appearance at the home of finals football. But the Raiders could not match the Rabbitohs. Canberra looked lethargic and had no answers for Souths strong defence and kicking game – which kept them pinned in their own territory for long stretches. It was a 23-4 loss, Canberra’s only points coming from Giteau penalty goals. The Green Machine’s magnificent run at the finals had come to an end. But Canberra had proved it was a genuinely competitive club in just three seasons.

The first Raiders team to make the finals did go on to play that next weekend – third grade had qualified for the elimination final at the SCG against Wests. But they too would taste defeat at the old headquarters, 22-16.

1984 Play off for fifth - South Sydney Rabbitohs (Craig Coleman, Bronko Djura, Mark Ellison, Ross Harrington tries, Neil Baker 2, Mark Ellison 1 goals, Neil Baker 1 field goal) 23 defeated Canberra Raiders 4 (Ron Giteau 2 goals) at the Sydney Cricket Ground

Canberra Raiders: 1. Ron Sigsworth 2. Mick Aldous 3. Ron Giteau 4. Craig Bellamy 5. Bill Walker 6. Ivan Henjak 7. Chris O'Sullivan 8. Dean Lance 9. Nigel Wilson 10. Ashley Gilbert 11. David Grant 12. Jay Hoffman 13. Gary Spears

*Forwards numbered in "reverse" order

Coach Don Furner

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Great memories GE - Recall all those player with the exception of Nigel Wilson? Can you tell me anything about him? Was he a late injury cover call up or am I just getting forgetful these days?
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Re: From the Viking Vault

Post by greeneyed »

Off the top of my head... I remembered him being a willing young second rower who sported a beard. Mostly playing lower grades.

But I have done a bit of research.

Wilson played only seven first grade games for the Raiders, in 1984. He made his first grade debut that year in Round 11 against the Tigers. He also played in the next game against the Panthers, before coming back into the first grade team for the final four games of the regular season... and the play off. He played one game off the bench, one in the front row and the remainder in the second row. After the 1984 season, he went to Castleford and played 23 first class games in England during the Australian summer. It was a deal arranged by Don Furner with Castleford coach Mal Reilly. He was contracted to the Raiders for 1985, but he didn't play top level football after his season with Castleford.

Don Furner recruited Wilson from Toronto, while he was playing for the Macquarie Scorpions. Wilson made his first grade debut for the Scorpions at age 17 and was selected in Newcastle rep teams at Under 18s level. Furner went to scout Craig Bellamy and Jon Hardy, but also spotted Wilson at the same time. Furner offered him a trial arrangement in 1983, but he broke his jaw in the second trial game that year. He spent 11 weeks on the sideline, before returning to play for the Raiders' Presidents Cup and third grade side.

In 1984, he was again included in the first grade trial matches, having just turned 21. He was an apprentice fitter and turner, but like a lot of players back then, he was given a job at the Queanbeyan Leagues Club. He ran the QLC laundry, while Bellamy was an electrician at the leagues club. Wilson was also into yachting while living in the Hunter.
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Re: From the Viking Vault

Post by Billy Walker »

greeneyed wrote: August 28, 2021, 8:35 pm Off the top of my head... I remembered him being a willing young second rower who sported a beard. Mostly playing lower grades.

But I have done a bit of research.

Wilson played only seven first grade games for the Raiders, in 1984. He made his first grade debut that year in Round 11 against the Tigers. He also played in the next game against the Panthers, before coming back into the first grade team for the final four games of the regular season... and the play off. He played one game off the bench, one in the front row and the remainder in the second row. After the 1984 season, he went to Castleford and played 23 first class games in England during the Australian summer. It was a deal arranged by Don Furner with Castleford coach Mal Reilly. He was contracted to the Raiders for 1985, but he didn't play top level football after his season with Castleford.

Don Furner recruited Wilson from Toronto, while he was playing for the Macquarie Scorpions. Wilson made his first grade debut for the Scorpions at age 17 and was selected in Newcastle rep teams at Under 18s level. Furner went to scout Craig Bellamy and Jon Hardy, but also spotted Wilson at the same time. Furner offered him a trial arrangement in 1983, but he broke his jaw in the second trial game that year. He spent 11 weeks on the sideline, before returning to play for the Raiders' Presidents Cup and third grade side.

In 1984, he was again included in the first grade trial matches, having just turned 21. He was an apprentice fitter and turner, but like a lot of players back then, he was given a job at the Queanbeyan Leagues Club. He ran the QLC laundry, while Bellamy was an electrician at the leagues club. Wilson was also into yachting while living in the Hunter.
Cheers GE - have to admit it didn’t jog my memory but that’s an interesting read, thanks for digging that up I remember feeling pretty deflated as a young fella after that game. I also remember when they had a great promo for Friday night footy in those days with an adaptation of the Easy-beats Friday on my mind. They were good times in those early days.
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Re: From the Viking Vault

Post by greeneyed »

Croker courage

Life post Daley, Furner and Mullins wasn't meant to be easy, and for the Canberra Raiders in season 2001, it wasn't. In Round 17 the Sydney Roosters - who were then placed in the top three - visited the nation’s capital. The Raiders were struggling in 11th place on the ladder. By the end of the day, the Raiders had produced one their most courageous victories.

The Raiders trailed at half time by 10 points, 22-10. There were no players left on the bench for the majority of the second half, the squad struck down by injury. The Raiders had lost Mark McLinden (suspected broken jaw), Ken Nagas (suspected broken leg) and Ruben Wiki (concussion, neck) by half time. At the 45th minute, Sean Rutgerson left the field with a knee injury. Whoever was left had to stay on the field.

Jason Croker did just that. Incredibly, he played the entire second half with a torn cruciate ligament in one knee and an ankle ligament strain in his other leg.

"I just knew I didn't want to let my mates or the club down," he said later. "I got a call from the coaches and they said we had no one left on the bench so I sort of said to myself, 'right, I'm going to have to stick this out' I don't know if it was brave or just stupid."

The 13 Raiders went on to score 22 unanswered points in the second half, with tries to Odell Manuel and Clinton Schifcofske tries helping to give the Green Machine the lead. A try to Darren Mapp with four minutes remaining sealed the famous victory.

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"I think everyone associated with the club is very proud of the way the players played today. You shook your head in awe at what they did. It was a magnificent effort," outgoing coach Mal Meninga said after the match.

Croker required a knee reconstruction and was awarded the John Sattler Trophy for courage. Incoming coach Matt Elliott was assistant coach that year. "Words fail me to be honest," he said. "It was one of those things that you see that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck."

2000 Round 17 - Canberra Raiders 32 (Clinton Schifcofske 2, B Finch, Odell Manuel, Darren Mapp, Ken Nagas tries, Clinton Schifcofske 4 goals) defeated Sydney Roosters 22 (Micheal Crocker, Shannon Hegarty, Matt Sing, Craig Wing tries, Craig Fitzgibbon 3 goals)

Canberra Raiders: 1. Clinton Schifcofske 2. Odell Manuel 3. Ken Nagas 14. Brad Kelly 5. Greg Wolfgramm 6. Mark McLinden 7. B Finch 8. Sean Rutgerson 9. Simon Woolford 10. Ryan O'Hara 11. Ruben Wiki 12. Alan Tongue 13. Jason Croker

15. Darren Mapp 16. Terry Martin 17. Darren Porter 18. Michael Monaghan

Coach Mal Meninga

Crowd: 9,825
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