This week for Forever Green, we catch up with Kris Tassell who represented the Raiders in 1992.
Tassell went on to represent the Bulldogs and the Cowboys before heading to England to play for Salford and Wakefield Trinity.
Canberra Raider #139
What do you do for work now?
I work with Telstra as a local area manager covering licensee stores across Brisbane and the Gold Coast. I've been doing that for six years now. I went over to the U.K. in 2000 to play in the Super League. I signed a two year contract and ended up staying there for 12 years! I came back to Australia in 2011 and fell into this role.
What's your favourite memory as a Raider?
I don't know if this is so much a favourite memory but it's the story I tell everyone regarding my First Grade debut.
I was playing Under 21's the day before and Tim Sheens used to get players from the U21's to sit on the bench for First Grade to soak up the experience. So I sat on the bench and wasn't even thinking of having a run and then at halftime Sheens comes over and says "You're on". I nearly crapped myself!
I ran onto the wing and I was outside big Mal Meninga. In the first set of six we got the ball and Mal went to dummy half and said "Have a run young fella". He passed me the ball and I dropped it! So my first ball in First Grade was dropped and Mal looked at me and just shook his head.
What did it mean for you to wear the Raiders jersey?
It was really special because I'd started following the Raiders in the late 80's, although I was also a Roosters fan because both my brothers played for them. I was just about to sign the contract with the Roosters as a young kid and I received a phone call from Tim Sheens who had spotted me at a footy camp a year before.
I was all set to go to Sydney but I ended up going to Canberra. It was a fairly easy decision in the end with the Queensland connections at the club.
Who was your favourite teammate?
I'll go with Ruben Wiki. When Canberra signed him we were playing Under 21's together in his first game I believe at Leichhardt Oval. He absolutely smashed a bloke in a crunching tackle but got sent off!
He was a good guy, really funny and as tough as nails.
Do you keep in touch with many of your former teammates?
I chat with a few of them on Facebook every now and then. Jason Death was probably another one of my favourite teammates. He was so funny.
What was your funniest moment as a Raider?
We used to have the idiot of the week award and the winner had to wear a pink tutu. There were a few good stories, one of the boys rung up and asked how to boil eggs so we told him how. He called back five minutes later and said "How do you clean egg from the inside of a microwave?"
Do you have any advice for younger players?
I'd certainly take the advice my brothers told me. No matter what, always get up and get into that defensive line.
Overall though, look at the really successful players, study what they do and work as hard as you can. There are so many talented rugby league players around. Every year there are young guns everywhere. What separates those from the successful players is the work ethic.