Through green eyes: 1987

Canberra Raiders history

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greeneyed
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Through green eyes: 1987

Post by greeneyed »

Through green eyes: 1987

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Paul Vautin was a player. Peter Sterling had hair. And I had been a resident of Canberra for five years.

I had moved to Canberra from Brisbane in 1982 - the first year that the Canberra Raiders entered what was then commonly known as the "Sydney competition".

I decided that I would join with the local community and support this new team, the Canberra Raiders. They played in Queanbeyan, not strictly Canberra, and the poorer of the two towns. But Seiffert Oval, Queanbeyan seemed like a palace to me. The playing surface looked like the proverbial billiard table. They had a grandstand, a real one, and a hill all around the rest of the ground. We had Lang Park in Brisbane, but the suburban grounds there were nothing like this. The Queanbeyan Leagues Club looked like Las Vegas.

Fast forward to 1987. I had slowly but surely become a passionate Raiders supporter.

The Raiders had decided to bring in a new coach, Wayne Bennett, in preparation for the retirement of the inaugural coach, Don Furner. The "two coaches" idea was widely ridiculed, but it worked out, with the club finishing the normal season in third place.

No one really believed that the Raiders deserved to finish in third. They were given no chance in the finals. Everyone said Easts coach Artie Beetson had "played" the Raiders into third by resting his key players in the final match of the home and away rounds – with the Raiders beating Easts 22-18.

But what a march to the Grand Final it was for the Raiders team and their supporters.

The Sydney critics were proved right when Easts beat the Raiders in the first week of the finals.

But the following week the Raiders came back to blitz Souths. Steve Mavin’s career was destroyed in an afternoon, with the Raiders ruthlessly attacking the Souths winger’s weaknesses. After only a quarter of an hour, Mavin was hooked from the field after the Raiders scored three tries on his side. Mavin immediately showered and left the SCG. In the end, it was eight Raiders’ tries and even the Sydney critics had to stand up and take notice. 46-12.

And then it was a face off with Easts yet again. Another win and it is a Grand Final spot. The lead up to the game was dominated by news of the possible return of Mal Meninga to the Raiders’ team, after his arm had been cripplingly broken. He came back into the team, his jersey stretching with some extra weight gained during the lay off. His arm was encased in a massive protective guard. But he was magnificent in his return. Meninga literally planted David Trewhella under the SCG turf after he trampled over the top of the Easts' forward on his way to the try line.

The game had swung to and fro, but in a second half surge, the Raiders put the Roosters to the sword. 32-24.

The Raiders were in their first Grand Final. It was truly bedlam in the capital. The first time the Raiders had made it and the city was completely unified behind the team.

By chance, I had arranged for my family from Brisbane to come to Sydney for the Grand Final. I had tickets, my friends had tickets, my family had tickets, in the Dally Messenger Stand. It is the smallest stand at the SCG, and uncovered, but I didn’t care. The Raiders were in the Grand Final and I was going. I remember the Saturday night before, we all went out and ended up at the El Alamein Fountain at Kings Cross, and we were all singing the "old" Raiders song. "We are the Canberra Raiders, from the capital territory… The fans are waiting, there’s no hesitating, we’ll be striving for victory…" The Sydney people looked at us like we were nuts.

Then Sunday came around. It was hot. I remember we were in the upper tier, in the open sun, and I ended up taking my mother down underneath in the shade. Everyone thought the heat might tire the big Manly forwards, but it wasn’t to be. I couldn’t hide a couple of tears as the fairytale had a bad end. My mother gave me a hug, though she didn't really understand how I had come to love the Raiders. The coaches and the players made me burst with pride.

It was a loss for the team celebrated in a new club song. A song that had been played to death in Canberra in the lead up to the Grand Final. But there would be better things to come for the "bad and mean green machine".
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Begbie
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Re: Through green eyes: 1987

Post by Begbie »

Another good piece GE. You forgot to highlight the Meninga try against Easts - the steamroll.

We had Raiders streamers all over our house, as was the fashion of the time. After the game, even though we were well beaten, Manly thugs drove over in a ute and pegged eggs at my house. My old man went out and got in a fight!
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greeneyed
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Re: Through green eyes: 1987

Post by greeneyed »

Begbie wrote:Another good piece GE. You forgot to highlight the Meninga try against Easts - the steamroll.
No, got that one, David Trewhella left in a hole in the SCG turf in the process!
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BJ
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Through green eyes: 1987

Post by BJ »

The smashing if Trewella was Without doubt the best rugby league week cartoon ever.

An interviewer asks a human shaped hole in the ground. "do you think the raiders gamble to play meninga paid off"
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Re: Through green eyes: 1987

Post by Yap »

BJ wrote:The smashing if Trewella was Without doubt the best rugby league week cartoon ever.

An interviewer asks a human shaped hole in the ground. "do you think the raiders gamble to play meninga paid off"
Beat me to it BJ

As soon as someone mentioned the try against Easts that cartoon sprung to mind
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Re: Through green eyes: 1987

Post by Begbie »

greeneyed wrote:
Begbie wrote:Another good piece GE. You forgot to highlight the Meninga try against Easts - the steamroll.
No, got that one, David Trewhella left in a hole in the SCG turf in the process!
Sorry GE, must have skipped that paragraph somehow. I also agree about the cartoon,everyone who know League remembers that cartoon.
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Re: Through green eyes: 1987

Post by dubby »

1987 was a tough year for this little boy.

It was my first year at an all boys boarding school, starting Year 7 with 60 other strangers in my year. I was often mocked, beaten and taunted for wearing my Raiders supporters gear at school. While tough at the time it made my passion for the Raiders stronger.

I watched ABC TV every Saturday, hoping to catch the Raiders.

I can recall the win over Souths, a game I got to watch from home because I was on leave from school. I watched the Easts game at school and can recall the Meninga try GE referred to.

I was ecstatic after that win.

I rang my aunty and uncle who lived in Canberra (and are responsible for me becoming a Raiders supporter) during GF week and they were mega excited about the game. I can recall them saying that the city was decked out in Raiders colours and the massive celebrations during the week. Ironically, it was those celebrations that took the teams focus off the game!

87 was a tough year on many counts in my life. There were many changes, many challenges and adversity on many levels. Yet, through it all I rode every Raiders game home. I listened to radio, watched TV, read the paper and bought RLW every week to keep up with the team. They were my saving grace, my hope and passion. Nobody will ever know how much joy the Raiders bought me in 87.

Looking back on my life, it was 87 that changed me. It was the year I really started to support my team (even though I have been a Raiders supporter since 82) and why today I feel such a bond with this club. When people talk about Bradman and how he gave hope and pride to a nation.....well the Raiders did that for a skinny little kid from Leeton back in 87.

What a year.
The spiral of silence refers to the idea that when people fail to speak, the price of speaking rises. As the price to speak rises, still fewer speak out, which further causes the price to rise, so that fewer people yet will speak out, until a whole culture or nation is silenced. This is what happened in Germany.

If you do not speak, you are not being neutral, but are contributing to the success of the thing you refuse to name and condemn.
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greeneyed
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Re: Through green eyes: 1987

Post by greeneyed »

Good story dubby!
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Bay53
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Re: Through green eyes: 1987

Post by Bay53 »

dubby wrote:1987 was a tough year for this little boy.

It was my first year at an all boys boarding school, starting Year 7 with 60 other strangers in my year.
was I the only one worried that Dubby was going to make some big annoucement here???

:? :?
Bay53
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Re: Through green eyes: 1987

Post by Bay53 »

GE you surprise me. So different to these days

a. you went to Sydney
b. you went out on a Saturday night - to Kings Cross none the less!!
c. you sat in the sun
d. gee if people thought singing a song in Kings Cross was nuts - god knows what they thought of the rest of the inhabitants of Kings Cross?

Why didn't you just go back to the hotel and post on the Greenhouse??
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greeneyed
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Re: Through green eyes: 1987

Post by greeneyed »

Ah... the internet didn't exist in 1987?
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Bay53
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Re: Through green eyes: 1987

Post by Bay53 »

yeah true I guess. but I am surprised you didn't go back and watch pay tv.
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greeneyed
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Re: Through green eyes: 1987

Post by greeneyed »

Ah... pay TV didn't exist in 1987...
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Bay53
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Re: Through green eyes: 1987

Post by Bay53 »

no internet and no pay tv.

what on earth did we do?
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greeneyed
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Re: Through green eyes: 1987

Post by greeneyed »

We watched free to air TV?
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Through green eyes: 1987

Post by Captain Punish »

Play ball in a cup?
Avatar Bet - bleedgreen99 - Raiders to make (BG99)/miss(Lucy) the 8. Avatar from last round of regular season 2015 until GF 2016.
Signature Bet - Raider85 - Raiders to get(Lucy)/miss(R85) the wooden spoon. Signature for entire offseason.
Bottle of something to the value of $70 - Matthew Borewood to not see (Lucy)/to see (Piggles) a first grade game in 2015 for the Warriors.
The Name Change Bet - Regarding the three bets above;
I win all three I keep my name.
I win one I become "the Punish"
I lose all I become "Chicken Little"
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Horace Dove-Edwin
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Re: Through green eyes: 1987

Post by Horace Dove-Edwin »

My Dad and I went to the Preliminary Final and the Grand Final in 87.

The Easts game was terrific. Three things standout:
1. Ashley Gilbert scoring two tries. He was prolific that year.
2. From a re-start to us Sam Backo knocking on right on the goal line.
3. The big fella KO'ing Trewhella on his way to the goal line. It was immense at the time. Scored right when we needed it. We were sitting in the Churchill Stand right above where he crashed over. To our right was the old Hill where the Raiders fans erupted. Actually the Raiders supporters that day were on fire. During reserve grade they started a chant 'We want the 1st Grade'. A live rooster was let onto the field too by a fan. Can't remember if it was during the game or between matches.

It was all cool leaving the ground. Most Roosters supporters were not dirty. Hoping like hell we'd beat Manly.

Grand Final was different. Stinking hot day. Rarely got into the match. Reading about it retrospectively Manly abused the head bin rule to counter the heat. Had a late charge after Sully's try but not to be. Sitting in the Brewongle Stand had a good view of our only try.
Copped heaps leaving the ground but the whole ride was great.

The entertainment on the day was good with the building of the Harbour Bridge.

By the way, that year even though Belcher was my favourite player I was loving Matthew Corkery.


Good thread GE.
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greeneyed
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Re: Through green eyes: 1987

Post by greeneyed »

Thanks, good story, I love stories like these.
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Re: Through green eyes: 1987

Post by Begbie »

Horace Dove-Edwin wrote:My Dad and I went to the Preliminary Final and the Grand Final in 87.

The Easts game was terrific. Three things standout:
1. Ashley Gilbert scoring two tries. He was prolific that year.
2. From a re-start to us Sam Backo knocking on right on the goal line.
3. The big fella KO'ing Trewhella on his way to the goal line. It was immense at the time. Scored right when we needed it. We were sitting in the Churchill Stand right above where he crashed over. To our right was the old Hill where the Raiders fans erupted. Actually the Raiders supporters that day were on fire. During reserve grade they started a chant 'We want the 1st Grade'. A live rooster was let onto the field too by a fan. Can't remember if it was during the game or between matches.

It was all cool leaving the ground. Most Roosters supporters were not dirty. Hoping like hell we'd beat Manly.

Grand Final was different. Stinking hot day. Rarely got into the match. Reading about it retrospectively Manly abused the head bin rule to counter the heat. Had a late charge after Sully's try but not to be. Sitting in the Brewongle Stand had a good view of our only try.
Copped heaps leaving the ground but the whole ride was great.

The entertainment on the day was good with the building of the Harbour Bridge.

By the way, that year even though Belcher was my favourite player I was loving Matthew Corkery.


Good thread GE.
Great story.
Never knew you went to these games Horace. It would have been fantastic to have won this year, but not to be. Got Canberra pumping, thankd God we got over the line in 89, made it all seem worth it.
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Re: Through green eyes: 1987

Post by dubby »

I loved Mathew Corkery, and remember Chris Kinna on the other wing? Good player.

Ashley Gilbert. The team took a pay cut to keep him at the club in 88. That wouldn't happen among Gen Y who are more inclined to spend their cash on tattoos and colour for their hair.

Peter Jackson was in great form in 87. Ivan Henjack at half or centre, Sam Backo powering ahead at prop with Dean Lance smashing players from lock.

Very good team that surprised many that year. They had a very strong camaraderie too.
The spiral of silence refers to the idea that when people fail to speak, the price of speaking rises. As the price to speak rises, still fewer speak out, which further causes the price to rise, so that fewer people yet will speak out, until a whole culture or nation is silenced. This is what happened in Germany.

If you do not speak, you are not being neutral, but are contributing to the success of the thing you refuse to name and condemn.
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