35 Years - 35 Defining Moments

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35 Years - 35 Defining Moments

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35 Years - 35 Defining Moments

Today we kick off a countdown of 35 defining moments in the history of the Canberra Raiders...

35. Final home match for Croker, Woolford and Schifcofske, 2006

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The end of 2006 saw the departure of a host of experienced players, not least of all Jason Croker. Croker left the Raiders for France, as the most capped Raider ever, with 318 games. Clinton Schifcofske, Simon Woolford - both captains of the club - Adam Mogg, Jason Smith and Michael Hodgson also played their final home game alongside Croker. The Melbourne Storm spoiled the party, running out winners 22-18 in front of more than 21,000. The Raiders had two further matches in the season, but lost in Week 1 of the finals to the Bulldogs at Stadium Australia.
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34. Raiders smash Penrith, 2008

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A highlight of the Raiders run at the 2008 finals – which followed the dramas of the departure from the club of Todd Carney and the resignation of coach Neil Henry – was the record 74-12 victory over Penrith. It was 38-12 at half time, and by match end, the Raiders had scored 13 tries. It was Canberra’s highest score ever and for Penrith it was the most points conceded in history. Terry Campese scored four tries and 10 goals, and could have joined Mal Meninga in the record books for the most number of points in a game – but the last conversion goal attempt was unwittingly given to rookie Marc Herbert, as reward for his outstanding performance.
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I'm liking these 35 years lists. Keep it up GE!
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33. Record breaking rout over the Roosters, 1990



The Raiders bulldozed the Roosters at Bruce Stadium 66-4, with Mal Meninga scoring a record five tries and 38 points – a try and point scoring record that still stands today. At one point, Paul Vautin shouted at his team mates: “Has Meninga got spiders on him or something?”
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32. Raiders snow game, 2000

The only NRL game to have ever been played in snow, the Raiders ran out winners over the Wests Tigers in a thrilling match, 24-22. The trainers ran out with hot water in the water bottles, the players warmed up at half time under hand driers, and the crowd of 7384 were let into the grandstand for free and given a pie and coffee.
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31. Furner's pointscoring record, 2000

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In round three, 2000, David Furner kicked four goals in the 16-12 victory over the Melbourne Storm at Bruce, pushing him past the all time pointscoring record for a forward. Bernie Purcell's record of 1152 points had stood for 40 years. Furner went on to score 1218 points for the Raiders and held the record for 15 years.
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30. Do you believe in hoodoos? Do you believe in miracles?

The Canberra Raiders had a remarkable record against the St George Illawarra Dragon after the turn of the century, losing just one match from 17 between 2002 and 2013. It included a nine game winning streak between 2008 and 2013 and an 11 game winning streak at Canberra Stadium between 2001 and 2013. It became known as "The hoodoo". There were some remarkable victories, but perhaps none more so than in 2011.

The Dragons visited Canberra Stadium, winless in the national capital since 2000, in Round 20 of that year. The Dragons led 18-6 at half time, and Jamie Soward surely thought he had won his team the match when he landed a 40 metre field goal with just a minute left - giving the Dragons a 19-18 lead. But the hoodoo was still to play its part.

Canberra regained the ball from the kick off and Josh Dugan scored an incredible last ditch try, chasing a Josh McCrone kick. The moment will live on through the classic call: "Do you believe in hoodoos? Do you believe in miracles?!" It gave Canberra the 24-19 victory.

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29. Daley's Dally M win, 1995

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Laurie Daley took out the Dally M Player of the Year in 1995, with one of his best ever seasons. Controversially overlooked for representative duties, with the ARL overlooking players associated with Superleague, Daley produced brilliant football week after week, and finished well in front in the count. Daley also took out the Dally M Five eighth of the Year and the Rugby League Week Player of the Year.
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28. Stuart's medal winning season, 1993

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In 1993 Ricky Stuart took out both the Dally M Player of the Year and the Rothmans Medal for Best and Fairest, due recognition for a stellar season - and despite suffering a season ending leg injury in the second last round at Canberra Stadium. He was the third player to achieve the Rothmans Medal-Dally M double. Stuart also collected Dally M Halfback of the Year and the Dally M Players' Player award.
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27. Finals run and record crowd, 2010

The Raiders stormed into an unlikely finals berth in 2010, having to win nine from the last 10 matches to qualify. A win at Penrith earned the young Raiders a home final. Canberra fell in love all over again with the Raiders, with a record 26,476 fans at Canberra Stadium. The Raiders could not quite get there, losing by just two points, 26-24.


Raiders V Panthers


Raiders V Tigers
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26. Record win over Eels, 1993

The Raiders produced a 68-0 victory over the Eels in the final round of the 1993 season, the biggest margin over any team to this day. The Raiders scored 12 tries, David Furner kicked 10 goals. The Raiders were surely on the road to another premiership, after a massive rebuilding process. But half Ricky Stuart broke his leg and dislocated his ankle, and the Raiders could not recover the loss of its dominant playmaker. The Raiders went out backwards in the finals.
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25. Clyde's two Churchill Medals, 1989 and 1991

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Three Raiders have won Clive Churchill Medals for the best player of the Grand Final - Ricky Stuart (1990) and David Furner (1994) being the two others. But Brad Clyde has picked up the Medal twice - once as an up and coming youngster in 1989 and, after missing the 1990 decider through injury, again in 1991. Clyde's barnstorming runs were a feature of both games, but it was not enough in 1991, with the medal a consolation in the losing Grand Final.
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24. Raiders first shot at the finals, 1984

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Canberra finished equal fifth with South Sydney at the end of the regular season in 1984. A Tuesday night playoff for a finals spot at the SCG saw the Raiders bow out (losing 23-4), but Canberra had proved they were a genuinely competitive team.
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23. Fourth Grand Final, 1991

The Raiders’ season was turbulent off field, with the club on a financial precipice and a large potential salary cap breach only fixed by the players taking pay cuts. Still, the Raiders forced their way against the odds to the 1991 Grand Final, the club’s third in a row. But a Penrith victory, 19-12, meant it would not be back to back to back.

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22. Raiders' club championship, 1990

The Raiders achieved a clean sweep in 1990, winning the minor premiership in all three grades, firsts, reserves and President's Cup - and the club's first - and, to date, only - club championship. The Green Machine also featured in every match on Grand Final day and came very close to a clean sweep of premierships - winning in first grade and President's Cup, but controversially losing to the Broncos in reserve grade in extra time. This pinnacle has not been matched in club history.
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21. Mullins miracle try, 1995

Brett Mullins was a try scoring maestro for the Canberra Raiders. He famously scored four tries in Newcastle in 1994, in a 52-16 win for the Raiders over the Knights. At the end of the match, he'd scored 11 tries in 14 days, with three against the Sharks and four against the Rabbitohs in the previous two rounds. The first two tries against the Knights were memorable length of the field efforts.

But nothing was better than his effort in the 26-0 defeat of the Broncos in Round 8 1995. A huge crowd of 23,740 was left gasping, when Brett Mullins chipped and chased twice to score his legendary "miracle try" under the posts. "Kick and chase by Mullins. Kick and chase again by Mullins. This will be a miracle! Oh, it is a miracle! Oh my goodness! You won't se anything again like that this year. And maybe never!"
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20. Croker courageously plays on, 2001

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Jason Croker played the entire second half with a torn cruciate ligament in one knee and strained ankle ligaments in his other leg, in a famous come from behind victory over the Roosters in June 2001. Canberra trailed 22-10 at half time and there were no replacements left, so Croker played on - and the Raiders scored 22 unanswered points in the second half. Croker retired in 2006, and with 318 games in green to his credit, he remains the most capped Raider ever - and the top try scorer for the club of all time.
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19. Wiki’s final games, 2004

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Ruben Wiki gave 12 seasons to the Canberra Raiders, and left a much loved figure for the New Zealand Warriors at the end of 2004. His final home game in Canberra was an emotional one, a 62-22 victory ensuring the Raiders would make the top eight. But Wiki suffered severe ankle ligament damage in the first half, and he was forced to hobble around the field on his lap of honour, tears streaming down his face. Thought to be no chance of backing up for the finals match against the Roosters the next week, Wiki bravely turned up with his ankle in a plastic cast. It was to no avail, with the Raiders knocked out, 38-12.
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18. Opening of Bruce Stadium, 1990

It was a controversial move in the eyes of many, but the Raiders decided to shift from Seiffert Oval, Queanbeyan at the end of 1989, to the larger Bruce Stadium, specifically re-developed for the Green Machine. Just weeks before, a record Seiffert crowd of more than 18,000 saw the Raiders take on the Broncos. The emotional final home game was played against the Illawarra Steelers in wet, muddy conditions, and after a struggle in the first half the Raiders eventually ran out 16-6 winners.

When the Raiders played next at home, in 1990, they returned as premiers. The opening of Bruce Stadium was a real spectacle, featuring a match between Canberra and St George. It was also the opening game of the season on a Friday night played in front of a then record crowd of 22,527. As fireworks blazed on full time, the Raiders had run out victors 26-10.
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17. Rapana breaks try scoring record



Winger Jordan Rapana had the season of his career in 2016. His combination with centre Joey Leilua was astounding... and when he scored his 23rd try in the Preliminary Final between the Raiders and the Storm, he had not only ended as the joint top try scorer in the NRL for the season, he had set a new Canberra club record for most tries in a single season. He had overtaken Noa Nadruku (1993), Jason Croker and Brett Mullins (1994) - who all scored 22 tries in a single year.
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16. Record 11 game winning streaks

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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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15. Superleague kicks off, 1997

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One of the most controversial parts of Australian rugby league history, the top echelon of clubs were left split in 1997, with the Raiders aligning with the Superleague competition. Canberra was one of the clubs pushing for change, alienated by an ARL administration seen to be favouring the Sydney clubs. It brought massive change to the code, with subscription television broadcasting every match, the introduction of video refereeing, and new professionalism in the presentation of matches. The long anticipated Grand Final clash between the Broncos and Raiders did not eventuate, with the Raiders falling to Cronulla twice in the finals. The public rejection of the split saw the two competitions re-united in 1998 under the National Rugby League.
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14. Jarrod Croker breaks pointscoring records

It happened in Round 10 2016 at a gloomy Kogarah against the Dragons through a try in the 77th minute - and once converted, Croker had also forced the game into extra time. With that try, he had broken David Furner's all time point scoring record for the Raiders of 1218 points. He finished 2016 on 1420 career points. In 2016 he also scored 296 points, the most by any Raiders player in a season. He also became the Raiders third highest try scorer during the 2016 season, overtaking Laurie Daley. He's likely to be the top point scorer for the Raiders for a very long time... and can quite conceivably become the top point scorer in the NRL of all time.
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13. Daley's final home game, 2000

The Raiders put on a massive performance for their retiring captain in July 2000, running out winners over the Roosters 40-12. There were 23,603 fans to see Laurie Daley walk off the field under a rainbow, along with David Furner and Brett Mullins, also playing their last home game. The trio had one more match at Canberra Stadium, a quarter final against Penrith, but this is the match that everyone remembers most.
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12. Meninga's final home game, 1994

What was then a record Bruce Stadium crowd of 25,253 turned out for Mal Meninga's final game at home. The Raiders ran out winners 40-22, but the biggest surprise came after the game, when the western grandstand was named in the legendary centre's honour.
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11. John Ferguson Grand Final try, 1989



One minute and 31 seconds were left on the clock in regular time and the Raiders trailed the Tigers 14-8. Chris O'Sullivan signaled for the bomb at dummy half, and he hoisted it high. Laurie Daley batted the ball back to Ferguson, who typically stepped his way through the Balmain defence, taking what would appear the most difficult path to the try line, scoring close to the posts. Mal Meninga's conversion sent the match into extra time, for the most dramatic end to any Grand Final in history.
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10. Canberra Raiders first victory, 1982

The Raiders recorded their first ever win at Seiffert Oval against the Newtown Jets, 12-11. The Jets had played in the 1981 Grand Final, and for the struggling, infant club and the Seiffert crowd, it was like winning a Grand Final.
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11 should be higher for mine. Maybe it was all the King Gee workwear ads starring Chicka but it's pretty much the defining moment for me.
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edwahu wrote:11 should be higher for mine. Maybe it was all the King Gee workwear ads starring Chicka but it's pretty much the defining moment for me.
I agree, it's probably either 1 or 2 for me. Steve Jackson or Chicka in 1989.
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9. Meninga’s Grand Final try, 1994

The 1994 Grand Final was Mal Meninga’s final game on Australian soil, and he scored one of the most famous tries in Raiders’ history. The great man intercepted a Jason Smith pass, and charged to the try line, scoring under the posts. He turned and pumped his fist in the air, a moment now immortalised in bronze at Canberra Stadium.
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8. Finals run and record breaking 2016



2016 was the best season for the Canberra Raiders since 1995, more than 20 years. 1995 was the last time the Raiders finished in second position on the ladder and made a Preliminary Final in a full competition. In 2016, Canberra just missed a Grand Final appearance. Along the way, all sorts of records were broken. The Raiders won 10 matches in a row, the most in club history during a single season. They scored the most points ever in a season - more than any Premiership or Grand Final season. There were more than 50,000 fans at two home semi finals - and the power of the Viking Clap, introduced late in the 2016 season, made it all the more memorable.
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And 35 years ago today, the Canberra Raiders played their very first premiership match against the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Redfern Oval. The Raiders lost 37-7. The first ever try was scored for the Raiders by Gerry de la Cruz. Peter McGrath scored the first ever points and goal, he scored two goals on the day... remember way back then, tries were worth just three points!

Here's an extract from "The Story of the Green Machine":

The official season commenced with a match against South Sydney at Redfern Oval. The team selected was billed as a “local backline and imported forward pack”. It reflected coach Don Furner’s philosophy that he needed “big forwards, that is, physically, who can stand up to the tough matches week after week. You cannot expect 85kg forwards to stand up to 100kg forwards every week”. He felt he could largely mould a backline from the local players. Announcing the side, Furner said: “A lot of thought went into the naming of the top team. We only have the evidence of three hard trial games to assess the quality of players. I’m happy with the players we will grade this week and feel that even some of the third graders are good enough to make first grade”. That would prove a somewhat optimistic claim.

The Raiders led the Rabbitohs 7-5 at an early stage in the round one Redfern clash. The honour of the very first points Canberra scored went to kicker Peter McGrath - a centre who would go on to rise to the very top of rugby union administration in Australia - via a penalty goal. The first try in Raiders history was produced by halfback Gerry de la Cruz. He would later say: “It probably didn’t mean as much to me at the time, but I remember when the Raiders were going into the 1989 Grand Final, there was an ad that featured it. We had about half a dozen first graders in the team who tried to tell us what it would be like, but we really had to learn for ourselves. It was great. It had always been my ambition to play first grade in the best competition in the world.” De la Cruz would only play four games for the Raiders in first grade, but his place in Raiders folklore was assured that day.

The 7-5 lead over South Sydney didn’t last, and the Rabbitohs ended up giving Canberra a 37-7 footballing lesson. “One lasting memory I have is Robert Simpkins running straight at me and trying to tackle him,” Peter McGrath remembered. “He just kept running through and I thought, ‘this is it’ we’re in the big league now’. That’s when it dawned on me. They beat us soundly. It took us a while to adjust to the pace and intensity.” Winger Steve O’Callaghan was struck by the size of the challenge facing the team. “We were despondent [after the match]. A lot of the guys from Sydney went out on the town, but I went back to the motel and didn’t feel like going anywhere after that.” Another veteran of the match, off the bench, was Michael Tilse, the father of current Raiders prop Dane Tilse. “As a young bloke, you probably don’t realise how much that game meant,” Tilse later recalled. “But to be in that first game and be part of history is something special.”

Round 1 1982, first Canberra Raiders team: Sam Vucago (fullback), Chris O’Grady, Steve O’Callaghan (wingers), Peter McGrath, Frank Roddy (centres), Lloyd Martin (five eighth), Gerry de la Cruz (halfback), Carl Frommel (lock), Jon Hardy, John McLeod (second rowers), David Grant (C), Jeff Simons (props), Jay Hoffman (hooker).
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7. Steve Jackson try, 1989 Grand Final

With the Raiders leading by a point in extra time in the 1989 Grand Final, Andy Currier fumbled a kick and Mal Meninga pounced. He passed to "no name" replacement forward Steve Jackson, 25 metres from the line. He somehow pushed off defender after defender, and crashed over. "He's there! Try! Try! Steve Jackson reached out and scored what will win the premiership for the Canberra Raiders! I didn't think there was any way he was going to make that. But he did. What strength! What power! What a Grand Final! What a premiership!" - Ian Maurice.
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6. Canberra Raiders admitted to the competition, 1982

On January 4, 1981, a meeting of the 16 ACT and region clubs voted unanimously to test the support of the local public for a Canberra team in the NSWRL and in principle to make a submission for admission. A survey of 1872 people later showed that 80.5 per cent of people wanted to attend matches if a local team played in the NSWRL competition.

Canberra's bid submission was delivered to the NSWRL on March 9, 1981 - and presented at a meeting in Sydney on March 30. At the end of a four and a half hour meeting, Canberra won out over bid competitor Campbelltown by 24 votes to 18. The Raiders played their first match against South Sydney on 27 February 1982 at Redfern Oval (losing 37-7), and their first home match at Seiffert Oval against Wests (losing 33-4). Canberra won just four games in its first season, but was on the path to glory.

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5. 1987 finals run and first Grand Final

Canberra made the semi finals for the first time in 1987, and despite losing the first match in the finals series against the Roosters, the Raiders left a trail of destruction in subsequent matches on the way to the Grand Final - after just six seasons. 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.

In their first Grand Final, the Raiders went down to Manly 18-8, but the brilliant attacking football played by the Raiders in the finals campaign had the nation's capital under a spell.


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