The Canberra Raiders Board have met with the Bega Valley Shire Council in Bega this afternoon to discuss the effects of the proposed Canberra Region Centre of Excellence.
Canberra Raiders CEO Don Furner believes that meeting was essential in regards to optimising the capabilities of the club to service the Bega region.
“If we were to set up a Centre of Excellence we would be get more resources to service the regional areas and Bega is one of those areas,” Furner said. “We want to make sure that country kids come here because we think that they suit our culture really well.
“They don’t have to move to a big city, and in return for that we want the Bega area to support us in our bid to get a Centre of Excellence.”
“Having this Centre of Excellence would mean we can employ more development officers, we can get out to the regions better and can run a lot more clinics therefore giving those country kids the same opportunities as the kids in the big city.”
On the back of the New South Wales Government funding Centres of Excellence for Sydney based NRL clubs, Furner believes that the role that the Raiders play in New South Wales is vital.
“We are the only country inland team in the NRL and we have a massive area to service in kilometers,” Furner said. “Canberra is a city of roughly 360,000 but the region holds roughly 600,000 to 700,000 people.
“Geographically it’s a massive area but we like to consider ourselves as the club for that area.”
On the back of the NRL’s announcement of a women’s competition starting in 2018, Furner also wants to use the proposed facility to host a female team.
“We would like to think that when we get the facilities in 2019 we’ll have the capability to put a team in the competition and provide them with separate dressing sheds, separate showers and other necessities.
“We’ll have the facilities to host a team and we would draw from regional areas such as Bega, Wagga Wagga and Goulburn.”
The meeting with the Bega Valley Shire Council follows a recent trip the Raiders Board made to Boorowa to discuss the same issue for the Hilltops Council.