Sia Soliola will cement himself in the Raiders history books this weekend when he takes to the field for his 100th appearance for the club.
“To be a part of this club’s history, and to be here is definitely something I’m proud of,” said Soliola. “Canberra is such an amazing place, especially for someone like me who has kids. It provides so much for everyone, it’s just a diamond home.”
When asked to choose a favourite memory from his time with the club to date, the 32-year-old struggled to single out a particular moment.
“The first day of the Viking Clap was pretty cool and has to be one of the best moments, and making semi-finals was big for the club as well,” said Soliola. “The connection I now have with this club means a lot to me. I’ve got a lot of favourite memories here.”
Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart praised Soliola for all he’s done for the club, and hopes he stays “at the club for a long time to come”
“I’ve known him since he was 17, our relationship is a lot more than player-coach,” said Stuart. “The things he does around the team, outside his contribution on the field is enormous.”
Stuart: I hope he stays at the club for a long time
Soliola also thanked Stuart for his unforgettable and vital mentorship for him over the past 15 years.
“He’s such an influence not only on my career but is such an influential bloke within the game,” said Soliola. “I owe Ricky a lot towards my career, he was the first one who gave me a shot. Not only on my debut but coming back after the Super League.”
Soliola believes that whilst 100 games for the club is amazing, he’s hoping that his body continues to “hold up” and that he can lift a trophy within the coming years.
“We’ll take it week by week… touch wood the body holds up alright, I hope to be lifting a trophy with the boys very soon,” said Soliola.
Soliola made his Raiders debut in round one of 2015 in a 24-20 win over the Cronulla Sharks, and since then has been a staple in the Raiders forward pack.
He has gone on to score 15 tries for the Green Machine, winning more than 50% of his games for the club, and easily becoming a favourite with the fans and the Canberra community.
When Soliola takes to the field against the Penrith Panthers, the 2015 Meninga Medallist will become the 44th player to reach the milestone for the Raiders.
Raider Number: #326
Club Awards: 2015 Meninga Medallist & 2016 Fred Daly Club Man of the Year
Club Appearances: 99
Club Tries: 15
Panthers v Raiders - Round 19