From the Stands: Round 19

After last week’s comfortable win against the Knights, this weekend’s game is a chance to build momentum and climb the ladder.

Both sides are in good form so Saturday afternoon is a must watch game.

For non-Raiders fans, if they’d been told at the start of the season that the Round 19 game against the Sharks would shape up as one of the games of the round, they may well have scoffed.

Scoff no more because that’s the reality.

If that’s not enough to get fans excited, the game has added significance as it celebrates Heritage Round.

It’s a chance to celebrate the rich history of this proud Canberra club.

You could argue we’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship from rugby league fans from the start.

Being the first modern side from outside of Sydney, there was plenty of interest in the Green Machine. Some positive, some negative.

But soon enough, the Raiders developed into one of the greatest clubs of the late 80s to mid-90s through players who are now considered some of the all-time greats.

Meninga, Belcher, Daley, Stuart, Clyde, the list goes on. These are the men that set an incredible standard for all future Raiders.

Personally, it was through watching these greats with my dad that I began a lifelong love of the Canberra Raiders.

Many of you may have fond memories of the old days at Seiffert oval, but as I was just a baby, most of my early memories derive from sitting on the hill at Bruce Stadium.

Some of what I heard as a young bloke on the hill was enough to make Warnie blush, but they were wonderful memories and I loved every minute of it.

Thanks to my dad I went to every game possible.

While there were many games that stuck in my mind from those days, it’s hard to go past Mal Meninga’s final game at home in 1994.

I was only 9 at the time and while the crowd was around 25,000, the noise made it seem as if there was double that in attendance.

From memory it was a comfortable win over Western Suburbs but it was what happened after the siren that stands out the most.

Fans were allowed onto the Bruce Stadium surface and it was the first time I actually stepped foot on the ground.

People were gunning for corner posts and whatever memorabilia they could scavenge on the day.

I just remember thinking how fantastic it was to stand on the turf where so many of those I admired played the greatest game of all.

And for me, that’s what the Heritage Round is all about.

So get out to GIO Stadium this Saturday and support our boys in all three grades to help celebrate the wonderful history of the mighty Canberra Raiders.