A CLUB IS BORN 1982
On the 30th of March, 1981, the Canberra Raiders were admitted into the NSWRL competition along with one other team, the Illawarra Steelers.
Don Furner was installed as head coach and ex-Tiger David 'Nana' Grant (RIP) was named captain of the 1st grade side.
The Raiders jersey was designed by local resident Patricia Taylor who used the lime green, blue, gold & white to represent both the ACT colours and the colours of the first Rugby League team in the area, Hall.
Although the first season was tough going for the new team, local support was strong with crowds at Seiffert Oval averaging around 10,000.
The fans were rewarded for their support on the 18th of April when the Raiders took their first ever scalp, 1981 Grand Finalists the Newtown Jets. Down 11-7 late in the game, try-scoring whiz Chris O'Sullivan crossed to push the Raiders ahead 12-11 and the slim lead was held until the final siren.
3 more wins would come in '82, including one over St George in front of a record Seiffert crowd of 13,758. Off the field the Canberra Raiders Supporters Club was born and workhorse Jon Hardy took out the club's inaugaral Best & Fairest award.
1992 - 2001
A NEW BEGINNING 1992
1992 saw the Raiders enter the second decade of their history and in a way, signalled a new starting point for the club.
The Raiders financial turmoil took its toll on the club in the pre-season, and more than a dozen players were forced to leave, among them Glen Lazarus, Nigel Gaffey, Paul Martin, Mark Bell and David Barnhill.
Coach Tim Sheens knew the hard task that lay ahead prior to season's kick off: "My main concern at the moment is to get a football side put back together after starting with what was basically a new club.....It's going to take six games, eight games, ten games or a season to get these kids out of A-Grade mode and into playing grade."
The side still possessed much talent and were together capable of another successful year, but when injuries sidelined players such as Gary Belcher, Ricky Stuart, Laurie Daley and new recruit Phil Blake early in the season, the side's lack of depth was exposed and they couldn't fully compete with the big guns.
They finished the season with a 10-12 record and missed the finals for the first time since 1986.
2002 - 2011
THE '5-YEAR PLAN' 2002
2002 saw a new coaching staff begin their quest to turn around the fortunes of the team on the field.
Head coach Matthew Elliott and his support staff designed a 5-year plan to once again see the Raiders back on top as the number one Rugby League team in the world.
The team was looking to jump out of the blocks hard and gain some early momentum for the season ahead, but after 7 rounds the team had only registered one win, prompting many pundits to write off the Raiders as likely wooden-spooners.
Off the field, the Canberra District Rugby League assumed full control of the club once more when News Limited sold its 50 per cent share in the club in April.
The team bounced back with a 36-10 win over the Sharks at Canberra Stadium in round 8 and eventually climbed back into the finals frame, courtesy of their excellent home record. The salary cap breach that saw the Bulldogs lose 37 competition points opened up a spot in the top 8 for the Raiders, who went on to face the Warriors in a qualifying final in New Zealand.
The Raiders, with nothing to lose and everything to gain, stuck it to the powerful New Zealand outfit for a good part of the match, but couldn't hang on, going down admirably 36-20, with five-eighth Michael Monaghan playing a leading role and his brother Joel scoring a double.
The season also saw an emotional Canberra Stadium farewell to club legend Ken Nagas, who retired mid-season after succumbing to an ongoing knee problem.
2012 - 2021
Exciting finish captures fans’ imagination 2012
The Canberra Raiders captivated the entire rugby league public in 2012 with their stunning run of form to qualify for the finals series.
Mid-season, Canberra looked like missing out on the finals altogether until they embarked on a supreme run of form in which they won eight of their last ten matches, including a 40-12 thrashing of eventual premiers the Melbourne Storm, to qualify for the finals.
Along the way, the Raiders played one of the most attractive brands of football seen in years and ended up finishing in sixth position on the ladder.
The highlight of the year was most definitely the capacity crowd for the Raiders home semi-final against the Cronulla Sharks in which Canberra Stadium was transformed into a sea of lime green as the Green Machine blew the Sharks out of the water.
The tremendous hype surrounding the Raiders’ form had everyone around the ACT talking with optimism and proudly wearing lime green scarfs, ties and dresses to work.
Unfortunately the Raiders went down to a red-hot South Sydney Rabbitohs outfit the following week, but ultimately the form and passion the side showed in 2012 have many predicting greater things to come of the Canberra in the future.
Incredibly, the Raiders achieved the commendable sixth place finish without the services of two representative class players in Terry Campese and Brett White, who both sustained season ending knee injuries.
Individually, there were multiple highlights for the year with several players coming of age.
Jarrod Croker scored the most points in the NRL in 2012 after amassing a staggering 226 points through 16 tries and 81 goals.
The prodigiously talented Reece Robinson also enjoyed his best season to date in the NRL and his breathtaking attacking ability resulted in the winger cum fullback being Canberra’s top try scorer for the year with 17.
On the representative front, David Shillington (Queensland and Australia) was again a colossus up front whilst Blake Ferguson, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs and Josh McCrone broke into the County Origin side with Ferguson named as Players’ Player.
Canberra also welcomed the emergence of several exciting prospects of the ilk of Jack Wighton, Edrick Lee and Mark Nicholls, who all made their debuts at some stage throughout the year.