Open Letter to Members from Ricky Stuart
Raiders Coach Ricky Stuart has penned a letter to Raiders members to thank them for their support of the club and rugby league in the region.
Dear Raiders Members
Firstly, a big thank you to all our members who were in attendance on Sunday afternoon at our last home game and experienced a tough game of football in very trying conditions.
I thought our players were strong in their performance against a very experienced and tough Melbourne Team. While ever the effort and commitment that the boys displayed on Sunday is there, the closer we are to turning it around into a win. I understand it’s difficult when your team is not winning at home and it gets very frustrating and we feel the same frustration, but we won't give up.
On the weekend I was on the sideline and experienced the noise you created in the stands in those crucial moments and this makes us all here at the club very proud of our die-hard, loyal Raiders members. I know it genuinely motivates the guys especially when they are under fatigue and need a spur along, and it’s always spoken about afterwards in the rooms and we truly appreciate it.
It gets tough at times answering questions on why we can’t draw larger crowds. I understand that us not winning at home is one reason and fully accept this fact, but as time rolls by and this great club continues to improve this will change.
Aside from that, you and our club are keeping rugby league alive in the ACT/Southern NSW Region, and your support is not only for the Raiders but for rugby league. We are putting a lot of time and effort into our juniors and local rugby league and it's important throughout the capital region that we strive to keep the game alive and growing in these areas.
What interested me on the weekend was witnessing the relationship the ACT Government has with the AFL hierarchy in pulling together and promoting the recent GWS fixture here in Canberra. Unfortunately the Raiders don't have this same luxury. Our peak body, the NRL, don't have this type of relationship with the ACT Government and presently, do not offer financial incentives to help us continue developing rugby league here in the ACT/Southern NSW Region. It's mainly left up to our club and our members, which is why I thanked our loyal crowd on Sunday in my post match press conference.
I can’t see why the Raiders don’t receive more direct support off the NRL to promote and develop the game here. The Stadium sold out for semi-finals for the club in 2010 and 2012 and delivered a sold out test match between Australia and New Zealand in 2013, yet we still struggle to get traction and assistance from the game in what is a battleground for the code.
If our club does not continue doing the work we are currently doing, other competing codes will get the jump on rugby league and it’s as simple as that.
Finally, congratulations to our coaches, staff and players of our junior representative teams. Our Harold Matthews (under16’s) just missed out on making the finals due to for-and-against but put in a really strong season with a mostly locally based team.
The SG Ball (under 18’s) secured the minor premiership which is a wonderful achievement and we wish them all the best for the finals as they look to win the club another title. This once again shows that our junior development and pathways for our junior players is very successful and I wish our SG Ball Team the very best for the semi-final game this weekend against Manly on Saturday.
Thanks again for your support and we look forward to seeing you again at our next home game against the Titans in round nine.