Canberra Raiders Club Historian David Headon is working towards a comprehensive History of the Raiders, with the working title Absolutely Bleeding Green. Each month he'll be releasing excerpts from the book which is expected to be completed mid-2019.
Dave Headon, Raiders Club historian
How could any ageing Raider supporter ever forget the 1989 Grand Final?
This was the game that Ian Heads and David Middleton in their classic Century of Rugby League book called ‘The Greatest Grand Final’, and it is not hard to work out why. Two superb sides, dazzling attack, brutal defence. Scores close, and then even closer. Those last nail-biting minutes of normal time when the game went into the stratosphere as Chicka Ferguson stepped off the left foot, and again, as he sliced infield to give Mal a better kick. Over the black dot. Scores tied, and into extra time, when local boy and ’82 pioneer Chris O’Sullivan coolly potted a field goal on the first tackle from a scrum-- without consulting Mal!!—and Steve Jackson bulldozed his way over, draped in Tiger defenders. The Greatest Grand Final was ours.
Yeh, yeh, you say, we know all that. But what you might not know is the legendary day’s tale of the boots. Our present coach, very young but a star number seven as we know, turned up in Sydney for the biggest match of his career with all the necessary gear. Minus one item. His boots. Panic, then inspiration under pressure. David ‘Campo’ Campese, an old Queanbeyan Whites teammate lives here now and he wears the same size boots as me. Eight and a halves. Onto the landline, no mobiles. Yep. The boots that Campo had only recently worn in the Randwick Galloping Greens jersey to win the Union comp were duly delivered, and worn. Spectacularly.
When Steve Lidbury, a mate of Rick’s, broke his neck playing for the Raiders, Rick and Sheensy and others put on a testimonial. Steve’s dad, Les, successfully bid for Campo’s boots, which came with a metal plaque telling the story faithfully--except for one significant detail. The plaque states that the number seven’s boots had been ‘STOLEN JUST BEFORE THE GAME’. This might have been the story given to coach Sheens. But no, they were forgotten. Fact is always better than fiction.