After a playing career spanning 203 stellar appearances in lime green, Ricky Stuart knows too well how widely dispersed the Canberra Raiders fan base is across the country.
Following the 36-20 victory over the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium, Stuart and the playing group remarked in the sheds just how influential the small, but incredibly vocal pocket of Raiders supporters were in the win.
“There are passionate Raiders fans across the country and the group of supporters that were proudly flying our lime green flag up at the Gold Coast and cheering us on at the top of their lungs on Saturday certainly played a pivotal role in our win,” Stuart said.
“Several of the players said afterwards just how great the fans were up on the Gold Coast and how much it motivated them to go that extra step and make that extra effort.”
“They were outstanding,” added Captain Terry Campese. “There may have only been a small number of them there in comparison to the amount of Titans supporters but they certainly made their presence felt.
“Brenko Lee and Anthony Milford had about twenty or thirty family members attend the game, dressed head to toe in lime green, just to cheer them on and you could tell how much that support lifted them.
“All of the boys made an effort to walk around the stadium and thank the fans for their fantastic support after the game. They certainly made a massive contribution to our win.”
Here is some of the feedback from the fans on social media afterwards:
"I would just like to say thank you to the players for coming over to the supporters bay and signing autographs after today game CBUS today. My son is 10 and has been living football all his life. He is in Burpengary Jets under 10's and been playing for 5 years now. He tells everyone his blood is football and even plays in our supercoach league. He got to live his dream today and talked to Campo and Croker which are his favourite players in the league. Thank you for making a little boys dream come true.”
“I am a proud Raiders fan (31 years and counting)! I just want to give a big shout-out and huge thank you to the boys for their efforts on Sunday afternoon.
Living on the Gold Coast, I relish the once a year trip to Robina to cheer on the Mighty Green Machine.
And the boys didn't disappoint - a huge win - and didn't we love it!!
But even more impressive than the win was the amount of time the players spent meeting and thanking fans after the match.
I'd travel far and wide to cheer on my team - but seeing such a display of gratitude after a really physical effort made it all the more worthwhile.
Every player spent time sharing high fives, smiling for countless photos, signing jerseys and meeting the youngest fans - and they all did it with smiles on their faces.
I didn't need another reason to love the Raiders - but there it is!
These are memories I'll keep for a lifetime - I can't wipe the smile off my face!
Now it is time for our supporters in Melbourne to stand up and be counted for.
“We play away again this weekend at AAMI Park in Melbourne and we’d love for all our fans in Victoria to turn out in force and cheer us on as passionately and as vocally as the ones on the Gold Coast did,” Campese said.
“The Storm are hard to beat, particularly at home and any boost that our terrific fans can provide us with will go a long way to securing back-to-back wins for us.”
CLICK HERE to purchase tickets to the match against the Storm on Saturday afternoon at AAMI Park.