Top ten greatest ever Raiders

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greeneyed
Don Furner
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Top ten greatest ever Raiders

Post by greeneyed »

Top ten greatest ever Raiders

Back in 2007, the members of The Greenhouse voted on their top ten greatest ever Canberra Raiders. It was a survivor-style poll... and after 40 seasons of The Green Machine, The Greenhouse members have voted again. The starting point was the top 30 players selected in our poll for the 40 Year Dream Team. In the first four polls 20 players were voted out. Subsequently, players were voted out one by one, to decide the top ten in order.

Here are the results!

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1. Mal Meninga

Mal Meninga is one of only 13 Immortals of the game in Australia - and the only Raiders Immortal. He is widely regarded as the club's best ever signing, the catalyst for the Raiders' golden age of the late 1980s to mid 1990s. Born in Bundaberg, Meninga joined the Raiders in 1986 and went on to play in five grand finals and win three premierships with the club. He was a colossus at centre, a barnstorming, unstoppable runner and a punishing defender. He was appointed Raiders captain in 1989 and led the team to each of its three premierships. When he retired, he had set multiple records for Australia and Queensland. He had made an unprecedented four Kangaroos Tours, captaining two, scored the most points in Test rugby league (272), captained Australia in 23 Tests, made the most appearances in State of Origin (32), and scored the most points in Origin (161). He played over 400 first class games with the Raiders and Brisbane Souths - and appeared in 11 grand finals with the two clubs. He also won two premierships in Brisbane.

Raiders record: 1986-1994, 166 games, 74 tries, 283 goals, two field goals, 864 points
160 games at centre, three in the second row, two at five eighth, one off the bench
Three premierships, five grand finals, 19 finals games, 18 at centre, one at five eighth
Golden Boot 1990, Best Player in the World
Rugby League Week Player of the Year 1990
Dally M Centre of the Year 1990, 1991
Dally M Captain of the Year 1994
Raiders Players' Player 1991
Raiders Best Player 1990
Fourth most points for the club - 864 (74T, 283G, 2FG), 1986-1994
Sixth most tries for the club - 74, 1986-1994
Most points in a match for the club - 38 (5T, 9G) V Easts, Bruce Stadium, August 22, 1993, also ranks third
Only player to score five tries for the club - against the Roosters, Bruce Stadium, April 15, 1990
Equal third most goals for the club - nine against the Roosters, Bruce Stadium, April 15, 1990
Equal tenth most tries in a season for the club - 17, 1990
Eighth most points in a season for the club - 212 (17T, 72G), 1990
Australian Team of the Century, 2008
Queensland Team of the Century, 2008
NRL Immortal
NRL Hall of Fame
Raiders Hall of Fame

Representative record*: 1986-1994 Australia, 34 games, including 11 World Cup games
1986-1994 Queensland, 19 games
1988 Australian President's XIII, against Great Britain Lions, Queanbeyan
1990-1994 Australian captain
* Excludes representative appearances from other clubs

2. Ricky Stuart

Queanbeyan born, Ricky Stuart joined the Canberra Raiders in 1988, after playing both rugby codes as a junior. He made his first grade debut in the Round 11 clash with the Broncos at Lang Park. He played his first three matches off the bench, but scored two tries in his first game at starting half. He never played off the Raiders' bench again. He went on to play in four grand finals and win three premierships in green. It might have been four, had he not suffered a serious injury late in 1993. He was in the best form of his life, but had to accept his Player of the Year awards on crutches. With him, the Raiders were on course to another grand final win, but not without him. That's how important Stuart was to the Green Machine. He reached the highest representative honours, but doubtless should have more games in green and gold. Three times Canberra Raiders Player of the Year, Dally M Medalist, Clive Churchill Medalist and a member of the NRL Hall of Fame.

Raiders record: 1988-1998, 203 games, 39 tries, seven goals, 25 field goals, 195 points
195 games at halfback, five at five eighth, three off the bench
Four grand finals, three premierships. 24 finals games, all at halfback
Six World Club Challenge games
Dally M Player of the Year 1993
NSWRL Best and Fairest Medal 1993
Dally M Halfback of the Year 1990, 1993
Clive Churchill Medal 1990
Provan Summons Medal 1993
Raiders Player of the Year 1988, 1992, 1993
Raiders Best Player 1992, 1993
Raiders Clubman of the Year 1995
Raiders Sponsors' Award 1991
NRL Hall of Fame
Raiders Hall of Fame

Representative record: 1990-1994 Australia, nine games, including two World Cup games
1990-1994 New South Wales, 14 games
1991 NSW Country, one game

3. Laurie Daley

Laurie Daley joined the Raiders in 1987, after coach Don Furner saw him playing for the Junee Diesels as a 16 year old. He started the year in Jersey Flegg and ended making a finals appearance in first grade. He also sat on the bench in the 1987 Grand Final. He went on to win three premierships and make four Grand Final appearances for Canberra. He played at centre in the 1989 and 1990 Grand Final wins and at five eighth in the 1994 Grand Final victory. No Raider has made more finals appearances. No Raider has won more club Player of the Year awards - five. He was the Dally M Player of the Year in 1995 and the Super League Player of the Year in 1997 - playing both seasons at five eighth. He is just one of two Raiders players to captain Australia, along with Mal Meninga. He is also one of seven Raiders inducted to the NRL Hall of Fame.

Raiders record: 1987-2000, 244 games, 87 tries, 44 goals, nine field goals, 445 points
173 games at five eighth, 48 at centre, nine at lock, six at fullback, one at halfback, seven off the bench
Three premierships, four grand finals, 27 finals matches
17 finals games at five eighth, including the 1991 and 1994 grand finals. Seven finals games at centre, including the 1989 and 1990 grand finals. One finals game at five eighth, one at halfback
Six World Club Challenge matches
Dally M Player of the Year 1995
Rugby League Week Player of the Year 1995
Super League Player of the Year 1997
Silver Dally M 1996
Dally M Captain of the Year 1996
Provan Summons Medal 1996
Dally M Five eighth of the Year 1995
Raiders Player of the Year 1990, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999
Raiders Best Player 1988, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000
Raiders Clubman of the Year 1997
First for most Raiders Player of the Year awards: Five
First for most finals appearances for the club: 27
Third for most games for the club: 244
Fourth for most tries for the club: 87
NRL Hall of Fame
Canberra Raiders Hall of Fame

Representative record: 1990-1999 Australia, 26 games, including five Super League Tests and five World Cup games
1993, 1997-1998 Australia captain
1989-1999 New South Wales, 26 games, including three with Super League
1988-1996 NSW Country, seven games

4. Brad Clyde

A junior with Belconnen, Brad Clyde made the Australian Schoolboys team - and was named as the player of the series on the tour to England in 1987. He went on to become the epitome of an attacking lock forward. He made his debut in 1988 with the Raiders and was named the club's Rookie of the Year. He played in three grand finals and won two premierships. He won the Clive Churchill Medal twice as best player in the Grand Final. He was one of the few players to win the Churchill Medal on a losing team in 1991. He easily could have won another premiership in 1990, but for an ACL injury. He played for the Blues and Kangaroos and was twice Dally M Lock of the Year. Salary cap pressures saw him move to the Bulldogs in 1999 (36 games, 1999-2000). He finished his career in England, playing 16 games for Leeds in 2001. He has been inducted into the Hall of Fame by both the NRL and the Raiders.

Raiders record: 1988-1998, 178 games, 38 tries, 152 points
142 games at lock, 21 in the second row, four at prop, four at centre, seven off the bench
Two premierships, three grand finals, 23 finals games, 18 at lock, three in the second row, one at centre, one off the bench
Clive Churchill Medal 1989, 1991
Dally M Lock of the Year 1989, 1990
Provan Summons Medal 1994
Raiders Player of the Year 1989
Raiders Players' Player 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998
Raiders Best Player 1989
Raiders Rookie of the Year 1988
NRL Hall of Fame
Raiders Hall of Fame

Representative record: 1989-1997 Australia, 21 games, including five World Cup games
1989-1997 New South Wales, 14 games
1989-90 NSW City, two games
1992-1994 NSW Country, two games

5. Steve Walters

Steve Walters was the prototype of the modern rugby league hooker forward. He joined the Raiders in 1986, from Brisbane Norths. He went on to make five grand final appearances and win three premierships in green. Only he and Mal Meninga have played in five grand finals for the club. He won the Rugby League Week Player of the Year, Raiders Player of the Year and Dally M Hooker of the Year while at the club. He represented both Queensland and Australia multiple times during his time in Canberra. He joined the Cowboys in 1997, and made three Super League appearances for both Australia and Queensland in that year. He joined the Knights in 1999, but retired mid season due to a knee injury. Many commentators thought he was unjustly overlooked in the Team of the Century, which was named in 2008 to celebrate the game's first 100 years. He has been inducted into both the NRL and Raiders Hall of Fame.

Raiders record: 1986-1996, 228 games, 41 tries, 164 points
221 games at hooker, two at second row, five off the bench
Five grand finals, three premierships, 26 finals matches, all at hooker
Rugby League Week Player of the Year 1993
Dally M Hooker of the Year 1990, 1993, 1995
Raiders Player of the Year 1991
Raiders Best Player 1991
Raiders Most Consistent Player 1993
Fifth most first grade games - 228
NRL Hall of Fame
Raiders Hall of Fame

Representative record*: 1991-1994 Australia, 17 games, including four World Cup games
1990-1996 Queensland, 14 games
* Excludes representative appearances from other clubs

6. Gary Belcher

After winning the 1985 premiership with the Magpies in Brisbane (95 games, 1983-1985), Gary Belcher joined the Raiders along with another Magpie, Mal Meninga. He was a brilliant attacking player, who created opportunities with his step and swerve. He knew just when and where to run. He helped turn the club into a premiership force, playing in four Grand Finals in eight seasons with the club, winning two (1989-90). He scored the try which brought the Raiders back into the 1989 Grand Final. He's won the Dally M Fullback of the Year three times, the only Raiders player to win the award more than once. He has also won the Raiders' Player of the Year twice.

Raiders record: 1986-1993, 148 games, 69 tries, 148 goals, 572 points
146 games at fullback, one at centre, one off the bench
Two premierships, four grand finals, 19 finals games, all at fullback
Raiders Player of the Year 1986, 1987
Raiders Players' Player 1986
Raiders Coaches Award 1986
Clubman of the Year 1993
Dally M Fullback of the Year 1987, 1989, 1990
Top pointscorer in NSWRL 1988
Equal third for most goals in a match: nine V Cronulla, Seiffert Oval, April 3, 1988
Seventh for most points in a season: 218 (10T, 89G), 1988
Equal 10th for most tries in a season: 17, 1989
Equal eighth for most tries: 69, 1986-1993
Fifth for most points: 572 (69T, 148G), 1986-1993
Raiders Hall of Fame

Representative record*: 1988-1991 Australia 15 games, including five World Cup games
1986-1993 Queensland 16 games
Dally M Representative Player of the Year 1990
* Excludes representative appearances from other clubs

7. Ruben Wiki

Born in Auckland, Ruben Wiki joined the Raiders in 1993 from the Otahuhu Leopards. He would become one of the most loved Canberra players of all time. He quickly formed a blockbusting centre partnership with Mal Meninga - and won his only title in green in the No. 4 jersey. He made his first appearance in the second row in 1998 and had mostly tranisitoned to the forwards by 1999. Wiki left the club for the Warriors at the end of 2004 - after some highly emotional farewells. Despite having suffered a serious ankle injury in his last game in Canberra, he famously took the field one last time for the Raiders, in a finals game against the Roosters at the Sydney Football Stadium. His inspirational effort was sadly not enough to get them over the line. It later transpired the New Zealand outfit had cheated the salary cap to poach Wiki. He played 87 games in four seasons with the Warriors. By the time he retired, he'd set the record for the most Test appearances for the Kiwis (55).

Raiders record: 1993-2004, 224 games, 60 tries, 240 points
97 games in the second row, 91 at centre, 19 at prop, one on the wing, 16 off the bench
One premiership, one grand final, two preliminary finals, 14 finals games, seven at centre, six in the second row and one off the bench
Raiders Player of the Year 2002, 2003
Raiders Clubman of the Year 1998, 2001
Raiders Sponsors Award 1996
Fans' Choice Player of the Year 2004
Seventh most games played for the club - 224
Twice scored four tries in a game - 1994 V Knights, 1996 V Cowboys
NRL Hall of Fame
Raiders Hall of Fame

Representative record*: 1994-2004 New Zealand, 43 games, including nine World Cup games
* Excludes representative appearances from other clubs

8. Jason Croker

Born in Crookwell, Jason Croker is the most capped Raider of all time. He has played in just about every position on the field in green. He's played most games at lock, but he's also played in the second row, at five eighth, in the centres and on the wing. He played in the second row in the 1994 premiership winning team. He held the club record for most tries for a long time - until he was overtaken by Jarrod Croker. He also shared the club record for most tries in a season (22) for over 20 years - until Jordan Rapana came along in 2016 (23). He was also a good ball player - very good for a forward - and tough as nails. In 2001, he famously played for the entire second half with a torn cruciate ligament in one knee and an ankle ligament strain in his other leg. The Raiders were out of replacements, but they scored 22 unanswered points in the second half to secure an unlikely come from behind win. Croker was unlucky not to make the 1994 Kangaroos Tour, but later represented both Australia and New South Wales. He was given the keys to the city after his last game in Canberra in 2006, and he headed to France, playing 62 with Les Catalans in Super League over three seasons.

Raiders record: 1991-2006, 318 games, 120 tries, one goal, 482 points
108 at lock, 57 at five eighth, 49 in the second row, 48 at centre, 44 on the wing, one at prop, one at fullback, 10 off the bench
One premiership, one grand final, in the second row, 16 finals games, seven in the second row, four at centre, three at lock, two at five eighth
Dally M Lock of the Year 2000
Raiders Player of the Year 2000
Raiders Players' Player 1993, 1999, 2000
Raiders Coaches Award 2004
Raiders Rookie of the Year 1991
Raiders Best Player 1999
Raiders Sponsors Award 1998
Raiders Most Consistent Player 1994
Most games for the club - 318
Second most tries for the club - 120
Seventh most points for the club - 482
Second most tries in a season for the club - 22 in 1994
Twice scored four tries in a game, against Sharks at Cronulla, August 14, 1993 and against Bears at Canberra Stadium, August 7, 1999
Raiders Hall of Fame

Representative record: 2000 Australia, five games, including four World Cup games
1993-2001 New South Wales, five games
1994-2001 NSW Country, three games

9. Josh Papalii

Born in Auckland, Papalii played his junior football with Logan Brothers, south of Brisbane, before heading to the national capital. He played for the Raiders' NYC team in 2010-2011 - making his NRL debut in Round 10 of 2011 in Melbourne against the Storm. He's gone on to become one of the all time greats of the club. He is the club's fourth most capped player of all time. He has been one of the best second rowers in the world. But since switching to the middle, he's been even more dominant, named the Dally M Prop of the Year in 2020. He has won the Meninga Medal four times - with only Laurie Daley awarded more Player of the Year awards at the club (five). He is the most successful representative Raiders player of the past two decades. His statistics below do not include 2022, as the polls assessed the first 40 seasons only.

Raiders record: 2011-2021, 239 games, 56 tries, 224 points
61 games at prop, 132 in the second row, 19 at lock, 27 off the bench
One grand final, three preliminary finals, 11 finals games, five at prop, five in the second row, one of the bench
Dally M Prop of the Year 2020
Dally M Tackle of the Year 2020, for a tackle on Titans half Jamal Fogarty
Meninga Medal 2016 (shared with Josh Hodgson), 2018, 2019, 2020 (shared with Jack Wighton)
Canberra Raiders Fans' Choice Player of the Year 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020 (shared with Jack Wighton, Elliott Whitehead and George Williams)
Fourth most games for club - 239

Representative record: 2013-2018 Australia, 11 games, including four World Cup games
2017 Samoa, four games, all World Cup games
2013-2021 Queensland, 20 games
2013-2014 Prime Minister's XIII, two games

10. John Ferguson

John "Chicka" Ferguson joined the Raiders after playing with the Newtown Jets (74 games, 1981-1983) and the Eastern Suburbs Roosters (32 games, 1984-1985). He was already 31 years old - and had played one grand final with the Jets (1981), as well as for Australia and New South Wales. He had also won Dally M Winger of the Year in 1985. However, he was about to enter the most successful phase of his football career. Ferguson was an exciting stepper and quick. He almost always broke the first tackle. The Raiders fans loved him, and he was the only player whose nickname was regularly chanted by the crowd - before or since. He missed the Raiders' first ever finals campaign in 1987, having suffered an ACL injury early in the season. But he was as good as ever, when he returned to the field in 1988. That year, he was the competition's top try scorer of 1988 and the Dally M Winger of the Year. That set a new club record for most tries in a season (20). In the 1989 grand final, Ferguson scored the dramatic try in the final stages which forced extra time - with the team going on to win the club's first premiership. He retired as a true club legend, after the club won the 1990 grand final against the Panthers.

Raiders record: 1986-1990, 94 games, 50 tries, 200 points
94 games on the wing
Two premierships, two grand finals, nine finals games, all on the wing
Dally M Winger of the Year 1988
Dally M Top Tryscorer of the Year 1988 - 20 tries
Raiders Most Consistent Player 1988
Oldest player for the club - 36 years and 70 days in 1990
Eighth most tries in a season for the club - 20 in 1988
Scored four tries in match against the Gold Coast Giants, Seiffert Oval, April 17, 1988
Indigenous Team of the Century, 2008, on the bench
Raiders Hall of Fame

Representative record*: 1988-1989 New South Wales, five games
1988-1989 NSW Country, two games
* Excludes representative appearances from other clubs
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Billy Walker
Laurie Daley
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Re: Top ten greatest ever Raiders

Post by Billy Walker »

Seems fair to me.
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BadnMean
Steve Walters
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Re: Top ten greatest ever Raiders

Post by BadnMean »

Top 4 fair enough.

5-7 all greats but there's good causes for any of them to be in this spot or that spot.

Papa might climb a bit before he's done or once time has its say.

Let the record show Chicka also scored in his last game, the 1990 GF.
Sleek the Elite
Brett Mullins
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Re: Top ten greatest ever Raiders

Post by Sleek the Elite »

Agree with Mal as #1. I'd have Laurie and Bradley at #2 and #3 respectively. Ricky and Boxhead at 4 and 5.

Don't think the order matters from there. I'd have Brett Mullins and Jackie Boi in my top 10 instead of Jason Croker and Chicka. Personal preference, I guess. Mullins and Chicka were both excitement machines. I think Jackie Boi is a better overall footballer than Jason Croker. Both very versatile.

Badge, Ruben and Papa all make my top 10.
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greeneyed
Don Furner
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Re: Top ten greatest ever Raiders

Post by greeneyed »

I personally think the top five, six, seven are very clear. I think the order is just about right, but would swap Daley into second, putting Stuart third. There’s only two blokes with statues at Canberra Stadium at the moment for good reason. Much more room for debate about the other three and their order, but my main change would be to swap Lazarus into the top 10 for Croker, in No. 8. All the players on the list very deserving though.
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Billy Walker
Laurie Daley
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Re: Top ten greatest ever Raiders

Post by Billy Walker »

greeneyed wrote: November 13, 2022, 9:25 am I personally think the top five, six, seven are very clear. I think the order is just about right, but would swap Daley into second, putting Stuart third. There’s only two blokes with statues at Canberra Stadium at the moment for good reason. Much more room for debate about the other three and their order, but my main change would be to swap Lazarus into the top 10 for Croker, in No. 8. All the players on the list very deserving though.
While no complaints about how it has landed, I 100% agree with your suggested changes GE. Loz to 2nd and Lazzo in makes sense. D Furner and Mullins both unlucky in my view as well.
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gerg
Laurie Daley
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Re: Top ten greatest ever Raiders

Post by gerg »

I think I'd have Papalii higher than Belcher. He's been a fantastic player for our club and a rep player since he was about 20 (?). Before reinventing himself to be one of the best props in the game he was one of the best second rowers. He's stayed loyal to the club and is a big game player. Doesn't appear to be a big talker but is a true leader at the club.
Shoving it in your face since 2017
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Finchy
Ruben Wiki
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Re: Top ten greatest ever Raiders

Post by Finchy »

Where’s Brett Kimmorley, one of our most influential signings since Mal apparently?
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FuiFui BradBrad
Bradley Clyde
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Re: Top ten greatest ever Raiders

Post by FuiFui BradBrad »

Time for the next poll. Top 10 greatest New Caledonian Raiders of all time.
Feel free to call me RickyRicky StickStick if you like. I will also accept Super Fui, King Brad, Kid Dynamite, Chocolate-Thunda... or Brad.

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