This week for Forever Green we catch up with Matt Gafa. During his time with the club, Matt played at winger, center and five-eighth before also representing Harlequins in the Super League.
Canberra Raider #182
What do you do for work now?
I work for the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Belconnen. It's nothing too exciting but I work in the Health Survey.
What's your favourite memory as a Raider?
It would have to be the 2003 Premier League Premiership. Any Premiership side has a great bond. I made some really good friends and had a great year.
What did it mean to you to wear the Raiders jersey?
I grew up in Canberra and I used to sit out on the hill at Seiffert Oval and watch the Raiders play every week right through from Under 23's, Reserve Grade and First Grade. It was always my dream to play for the Raiders and then to get that opportunity was one I didn't think I was going to get. For that dream to come true was a proud moment.
My debut was back during the Super League, I think I was 18 at the time. I had played a few trial games and there were a few injuries so I managed to sit on the bench for the first game against Cronulla at the Sydney Football Stadium before getting pulled on at halftime.
I don't remember the game succinctly but I do remember the players I was playing with at the time. They were all the champions that played for the Raiders through their Premiership years. Mal Meninga was coaching and it was great to play with Ricky Stuart, Bradley Clyde, Laurie Daley. They were superstars and Canberra legends.
Who was your favourite teammate?
Michael Robertson, Troy Thompson, Joel Monaghan and Jason Croker. They were all funny in their own way and are great people to hang around.
Do you keep in touch with any of your favourite teammates?
Not as often as I would like to but I help Troy Thompson coach the West Belconnen Warriors. There are a few ex-players helping out at a few of the clubs around Canberra so that's good for rugby league around Canberra.
When we do catch up though it's like we were at training yesterday.
What was your funniest moment as a Raider?
There were practical jokes at training but nothing specific comes to mind.
Do you have any advice for younger players?
Train as hard as you can. Get the most out of every session. Be dedicated and with a bit of luck along the way you could achieve your dreams.