Before I start, it’s worth noting I had another article written for this week.
As the ten or so people who follow my articles, along with my loved ones at home, you’d know I like to keep the articles relatively upbeat and positive.
I wasn’t going to mention the recent signing (or non-signing) shenanigans but this last week has hurt. It’s hurt a lot.
So I apologise in advance for some whinging that you’re about to encounter.
For those who have missed it, the Raiders have missed out on four very big signings recently.
Kevin Proctor, Michael Ennis, and Josh Mansour all avoided the dotted line. Tigers fullback, James Tedesco, originally signed but as of Wednesday night, back flipped and won’t be joining us in 2015.
Honestly, from a lifelong fan, it’s heartbreaking. It feels like our proud club is that kid that gets picked last on the playground.
Only, instead of being picked last, we’re being told we’re not allowed to play.
I won’t go into the internal speculation as to why players are turning us down because it’s not my place, but I would like to address one constant sledge we’ve all been hearing over and over.
The criticism of Canberra as a city is ongoing and those of us who live here are used to it by now.
I can take it in jest but if any players think Canberra as a city is a genuine reason for not playing here, they are kidding themselves.
Sure, it doesn’t have a beach, or in Penrith’s case, it doesn’t have…. whatever it is that Penrith has, but we’re a beautiful, proud city none the less.
I love being able to walk the city’s wide open spaces, dine at a plethora of outstanding restaurants, escape and be surrounded by nature’s beauty within minutes, and I love the people.
In fact, Canberrans are happy, healthy and dare I say an incredibly attractive bunch. What’s not to love?!
The point is, Canberra is a brilliant place to live and work. I feel a strong connection to almost everything in it and I love it.
And that includes the mighty Canberra Raiders. Some of my fondest memories are the simple ones. Just sitting on the hill with my family and taking in the game.
I loved listening to my dad. He taught me who to sledge and why (he taught me well!). He taught me who to cheer for and why.
Going to Bruce Stadium as it was then, was more than just a business transaction. It was an opportunity to celebrate something we were proud of. Something we all belonged to.
It was an opportunity to scream to anyone who would listen, that we love this city and anyone who represents us.
That pride still burns deep inside and no ‘high profile’ rejections are going to take it away.
Yes I’m hurt, but here’s a message to future potential recruits. If you decide to come here and pull on that beautiful lime green jersey, you’re not just playing a game and representing a business.
You’d be representing many proud families just like mine. You’d be representing people who love the Raiders now, just as they always have and always will.
You’d be representing a club with a proud history of players who rose above adversity to win premierships when they were told it was impossible.
Best of all, you’d be representing some of the most dedicated fans in the comp, who won’t give up on you, as long as you play with pride and remember those who paved the way for you.
Want proof? Watch us battle the Broncos this Monday night. We’ll be there and we’ll wave to you. Not you, Tedesco.