Everything You Need To Know About Canberra Raiders NRL

Everything You Need To Know About Canberra Raiders NRL
Raiders v Dragons. Photo: reepy_au/flickr, Wikimedia Commons

The Canberra Raiders are a professional rugby league football club based in Australia’s capital city of Canberra, ACT. They have been involved in the National Rugby League NRL since 1982. The Canberra Raiders club has been responsible for some big moments in National Rugby League history.

Every year Canberreans wear green with pride in support of the Canberra Raider, their devoted fan base lives and breathes green! Their support base has grown steadily each year, reaching new heights in 2019 with fans passionately supporting the club and celebrating their wins.

The Australian Capital Territory may be small, but you wouldn’t know it with fans coming out in full force for the Raiders. They have some of the most devoted supporters and super fans of any of the teams in the NRL.

Founded

The Canberra Raiders club was founded on the 30 March 1981, and since then they’ve had a long and colourful history competing in the NRL with quite a few big moments and notable achievements littered throughout the decades. They’ve certainly earned their place as a strong competitor club in the NRL. The Canberra Raiders earned their place in the National Rugby League as a result of the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership’s initial expansion outside of New South Wale. The Raiders club was admitted into the League, alongside the Illawarra Steelers for the 1982 playing season.

Canberra stadium, Wests vs Raiders, 17 july 2006 (raiders won 20-18 in w:Golden point extra time)
Canberra stadium, Wests vs Raiders, 17 July 2006 (raiders won 20-18 in w:Golden point extra time). Photo: Roke~commonswiki, Wikimedia Commons

Notable Achievements

Since joining the National Rugby League, the Canberra Raiders have successfully won three premierships and have participated in a total of five Grand Finals. The team has received one Wooden Spoon (an unofficial award for the team that finishes last in the premiership) during their time playing the game. Fifteen Canberra Raiders players have had the honor of wearing the green and gold for the Australian National Rugby League team.

The Canberra Raiders biggest ever win was by a margin of 68 points, after they defeated the Parramatta Eels 68-0 in 1993. Their biggest loss occurred in 2013, after competing against Melbourne Storm who beat them by a margin of 64 points in a 4-68  game.

The Canberra Raiders have maintained an eleven consecutive games win streak on two occasions, in the years 1990 and 1995.

Notable Canberra Raiders players include Jason Crocker, who has both played the most games (318 games between 1991 and 2006) and also holds the try-scoring record  for the Raiders (120 tries) and Jarrod Crocker who holds the record as the clubs highest every points scorer having made 1,702 points between 2012 and 2018.

Club Earnings

The Canberra Raiders are financially supported by a number of leagues clubs in the Australian Capital Territory and Queanbeyan. The leagues club house more than 800 poker machines, the profits of which go towards a healthy property trust that maintains millions of dollars’ worth of assets. The Queanbeyan alone has generates incredible profits and has been instrumental in creating the trust, which assets are valued at over $30 million. The Canberra Raiders also contributes to this trust, boasting a healthy balance sheet of their own. The profits from the trust are used to fund the football club. The Raiders is not a publicly listed entity so it is unknown how much debt is attached to the property portfolio and club.

The Canberra Raiders Rugby Football team has generated approximately $12-12 million worth of revenue in recent years. The team is one of the poorest-performing in the NRL when it comes to profit. The club requires a cash injection of several million each year from the leagues clubs and property trusts that support it. Since there is no competition for funds from other teams in the Australian Capital Territory, the Raiders should be reliably financially supported for many years to come.

Home Ground

The Canberra Raiders home ground is currently located at Canberra Stadium (also known as GIO stadium) in Bruce, Australian Capital Territory. The move to the current stadium took place in 1990, previously the Raiders had been headquartered in Queanbeyan and played their home games at the Seiffert Oval. This was their home ground between the years of 1982 until 1989. Their very first game in 1982 was played on Seiffert Oval, against the Western Suburbs Magpies – they lost to the Magpies 33-4. The Canberra Raiders had their first win on home ground in April of the same year, winning 21-11 over Newtown, who had won the 1981 Grand Final.

The Canberra Raiders played 98 games in total at Seiffert Oval, winning 52 of those games and losing 45, with one draw.

The new Bruce stadium is spacious by comparison and located directly adjacent to the Australian Institute of Sport. The team has remained at the Stadium since 1990. The club has played 200 games in total at the stadium (at the end of the 2015 NRL season).

Ricky Stuart
Ricky Stuart of Cronulla RLFC. Photo: Paddynapper, Wikimedia Commons

Coach

The Canberra Raiders current coach is Ricky Stuart, a former Rugby League player who played for the team in 1988. The Raiders club was initially coached by Don Furner, an Australian National Rugby player. Wayne Bennett later joined him in 1987 and helped the Canberra Raiders to win their first Grand Final.

Emblem and Colours

The Raiders team colours are lime green, white, blue and gold. The lime green is the teams main colour, as it easily differentiates the club from other NRL clubs. The blue and gold were chosen for incorporation because they are traditionally the sporting colours of the ACT. The original jersey design was chosen with a competition held in 1981 by the Raiders. The design of the winning entrant was adopted. In recent years the away colours of the team have been dominated by a white colour scheme, with lime green, blue and gold bands. The teams logo and official symbol is the Viking.

Victor the Viking
Victor the Viking

Mascot

The club Mascot is Victor the Viking, who is based on the clubs emblem.

Supporters

The Raiders have a dedicated fan base including a super fan club that regularly attend Raiders games, dress up and celebrate wins after the game. In recent years the Raider have experienced record breaking attendance numbers, with impressive regular attendance numbers throughout the seasons of 2017-2019. The Canberra Raiders largest ever attendance was a crowd of 26,476 during a 2010 game against the West Tigers. Previous to that, the Canberra Raiders record attendance was at Seiffert Oval during the 1989 season, with a crowd of 18,272 showing up to celebrate the Raiders win of 27-6 against the Brisbane Broncos – one of the reigning NRL teams, who were coached by former Raiders coach Wayne Bennett.

History

The Canberra Raiders became apart of the League as a result of the New South Wales Rugby Football League looking to add other states to its Sydney based premiership. The Canberra Raiders were the 14th team to be accepted into the League, joining in 1981 and playing for the first time in the 1982 season.

The clubs first season earned them a wooden spoon, they also gained a reputation for collapsing in late season, earning them nicknames such as the Canberra Faders. The team struggled to win away from home, although they slowly gained traction with 1983 seeing 9 wins, double that of the previous year.

The Canberra Raiders notably were the first non-Sydney team to make the finals, during their 1987 season. They were also the first non-Sydney club to win a premiership, in the 1989 season. Following their 1989 win the club experienced great success, with five grand final appearances in only eight years. The club had a number of high profile international players at its disposal during this time, before the Super league war occurred and the Raiders switched sides. In the noughties the club experienced a mass exodus of experienced players and suffered as a result. In 2009, the Raiders only had four rugby league players who had played at the representative level.

The following years have been a mixed bag; the Raiders made it to the finals in 2012, but have finished lower on the ladder for most of the 2010’s. 2019 has by all accounts been the clubs most promising year since the 1990’s with the club in 3rd place at the end of round 21.

Trainings

The Canberra Raiders train at their home ground GIO stadium in Canberra. They sometimes hold open training events where fans can come along and watch them prepare for their clashes against opposing teams. Open trainings are an excellent opportunity for fans to meet their favourite players, get and autograph and see them in action up close and personal. See the behind the scenes hard work that goes into preparing the team for the game. The team also occasionally give out surprise gifts to lucky fans, like family passes. It’s worth a visit for highly invested fans who want to see their favourite green machine team hard at work.

Community interaction

The Canberra Raiders aim to actively participate in the community in the Australian Capital Territory and have an active role in a number of programmes to benefit the local community.

During its latest season the club has attended more than 425 community events, adding up to over 925 hours of service. The club provides support to more than 250 teams as part of their commitment to the ACT Touch program, which sees more than 20,000 participants each year. The Raiders club also gifts memorabilia and takes part in providing experiences to community groups for fundraising – these contributions have helped to raise more than $80,000, at a conservative estimate.

The Raiders club is associated with groups such as The Elevation Army, CanTen, Hartey Lifecare, Kulture Break. Red Nose foundation, RMCH, PCYC, Cure Brain Cancer, Camp Quality & Menslink, to name a few. Their focus areas include mental health, domestic violence , health and wellbeing, indigenous interest and reach out programs for those interested in the sport. They regularly give out autographs after games. They also support school competitions, NAIDOC, deaf awareness and local leagues.

Purchasing tickets

Tickets for Canberra Raiders games can be purchased through ticketek. Memberships are also on offer for fans wanting to join the Raiders family. Members are seen as an integral and highly valued part of the club. Memberships come at different pricing levels, with flexi options for those who want to drop into a few games, full season memberships with the best seats in the house and everything from general admission to your own private seat in a private suite.

It’s well worth it to get out there and support your favourite team. The Canberra Raiders have had some great game moments over the year, and with some impressive plays of the 2019 season, fans can look forward to some exciting games in the future. The team has some breakout star players on the rise, making them a fun watch.

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