This week we catch up with former Raiders winger Matt Corkery who played for the club between 1984 – 1989. During his time with the club, Corkery scored 19 tries before going on to represent the Cronulla Sharks. Now, Corkery has returned to the Raiders family where he coaches the Tarsha Gale Cup side.
Canberra Raiders #57
What do you do for work now?
I work for Spotless Services as a Project Manager. We look after facility management across the Defence portfolio within the ACT and Southern NSW.
I got involved with the Raiders juniors three or four years ago. It’s just progressed from there and now I’m coaching the Tarsha Gale Cup side. It’s been a good experience. I wanted to give something back and what better place to give something back than with the girls.
What’s your favourite memory as a Raiders?
There’s a lot of great memories. I came to the Raiders at the end of 1984 and being an 18 year old coming into that side was a bit of an eye opener for a young country fella like myself. So those first five or so years with the Raiders were fantastic.
What did it mean to you to wear the Raiders jersey?
A great deal. There was a competition in the paper to submit a jersey design for the new Canberra Raiders team and I remember sitting at home colouring in a few entries. I put my jerseys forward but it wasn’t to be, we ended up with those lime green jumpers which is fantastic. My design was blue but it was pretty ordinary thinking back about it!
I was fantastic as a young kid coming through the juniors at Canberra and eventually playing for the Raiders was a dream come true.
Who was your favourite teammate?
Gee whiz. There’s so many! I can’t really pinpoint anyone. Chris Kinna was on the wing with me back in 1987 and he was a West Belconnen boy as well so probably ‘Bushie’.
There were certainly some characters in the early years and all of those guys were great. It’s great to catch up with them every year with the Forever Green group that’s forming and growing each year so that’s a great thing that the Raiders are doing. It’s great to be able to catch up with mates from years gone by.
Do you keep in touch with any of your former teammates?
Not really. I was at the Raiders for six or seven years, then moved to Cronulla and ended up staying at Cronulla for 18 years.
I sometimes bumped into them on the street. I actually used to bump into Ricky Stuart when he was coaching Cronulla and we’d always stop and have a chat. Likewise with Bradley Clyde, whenever I bumped into him we’d have a good old chat.
Life became too busy and you move away from football when your kids are young and you have other priorities. If I ever bump into them or get to catch up with them at a reunion, it’s always a good time.
What was your funniest moment as a Raider?
There are so many stories that I think back about. There was a trip where a few things went awry and people were hiding under beds and so on and so forth.
Do you have any advice for younger players?
There’s a lot of people that will blow smoke and tell you how good you are and so on and so forth. My advice is stay grounded, believe in yourself, don’t get too bigheaded and work hard.
You only get back what you put in and if you put in the hard yards, your ability is there and an opportunity arises, you’re going a long way to reaching your goals.