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A ground steeped in rugby league history and home of the Green Machine’s golden days.

A fortress for the premiership-winning class of 1989, where green jerseys crowded the sideline fence and a sausage roll would set you back just 30 cents.

Ricky Stuart’s Raiders meet the Cowboys on Sunday in a Pre-Season Challenge clash at Seiffert Oval, a place former players will forever call their ‘spiritual home’ and where one of rugby league's great dynasties was born.

“It was a boutique little stadium, where everyone was really close to the sidelines which made it quite an intimidating atmosphere for opposition teams to come and play at,” premiership winning centre Laurie Daley told

“Coming off the back of the 1987 grand final loss and a semi-final in '88, there was a lot of hope and optimism around the club.

“It was like everyone was suddenly got on board and would get there really early. There'd be five or six thousand people at the ground, watching the second half of the U/23s and then it just got bigger and bigger by the time first grade rolled around.

“And when we won the grand final in 1989 that really brought everyone together, it gave the town something to be proud of.”

The Raiders celebrate their grand final win against Balmain at Sydney Football Stadium in 1989.
The Raiders celebrate their grand final win against Balmain at Sydney Football Stadium in 1989. ©NRL

From the club's inception in 1982 through to their inaugural title in 1989, Seiffert Oval was home to the Raiders, before the reigning premiers shifted to GIO Stadium for the 1990 season.

In 12 games at Seiffert in their premiership season, the Raiders won eight and lost four, taking their overall record to 52 wins, 45 losses and a draw across the eight years they called it home.

The bare numbers don't tell the real story of what the ground meant to a fledgling club and its loyal band of fans who often braved wet and cold conditions to cheer their team on.

Making his debut for the Green Machine in 1986, club legend Gary Belcher’s first game at Seiffert resulted in a 26-20 loss to Balmain, but his memories of that special patch of dirt in Queanbeyan aren't limited to what happened on the field.

“A lot of my memories are around training and some of the funny stuff that happened,” Belcher told

“They put a portable house at Seiffert Oval. So when you drove into the car park on the right, just before the grandstand there was this five-bedroom house they put there for players that came and didn't have somewhere to stay.

“We used to call it the ‘Taj Mahal’ and they had a lady that would look after them with meals and some of the trouble that the guys got up to… it was pretty entertaining.

"The core of the team had been through a really tough time and there was a real defeatist attitude at the club when I got there but some great young blokes like Laurie and Lazzo [Glenn Lazarus] came along in '87 and Brad Clyde and Ricky in '88.

 Seiffert Oval was home to the Raiders from 1982 through to their inaugural title in 1989.
Seiffert Oval was home to the Raiders from 1982 through to their inaugural title in 1989. ©NRL

"We started to play a pretty entertaining brand of footy and the locals just loved the fact that we were winning more than we were losing...there was a certain buzz around and Seiffert became a bit of a fortress for us.

"I think the big turning point for me was there used to always be say more Souths fans when Raiders played Souths or more Parra fans when they played Eels at home but that all changed in those years."

Belcher gets well-deserved try

One game that stands out in Belcher’s mind is the Raiders' 27-6 win over the Broncos in front of a ground record crowd of 18,272 in Round 12, 1989.

Former Raiders players Sam Backo and Peter Jackson and their old coach Wayne Bennett returned to Seiffert that day but there was no welcome mat rolled out.

“I certainly remember us putting a bit of a score on Wayne that day and Ricky made a big break down the right side and put me away," Belcher said.

“It rained a lot that year and the ground was a bit of a bog but it was a bit of a thicker, longer grass and we could see the opposition’s big men late in the game would just get more and more tired in the legs.

“And that's when we'd take over a bit and put a bit of a score on a lot of teams.

“There was certainly some fantastic crowds that year and whilst we needed to leave when we outgrew it and became part of Canberra, it was a real shame to go.

“I'm just so glad we were based there still for that first grand final year.”

Gary Belcher celebrates the 1989 grand final win at Sydney Football Stadium.
Gary Belcher celebrates the 1989 grand final win at Sydney Football Stadium. ©NRL

Seiffert holds a special place in the heart of two-time premiership winning prop Glenn Lazarus, who grew up supporting and playing for the Queanbeyan Blues.

When the Kangaroos and NSW representative peered into the crowd and saw of sea of faces staring back, he'd picture himself sitting on the hill as a kid, dreaming of one being out there himself one day.

“I've always had one really good memory of when the Queanbeyan Blues ran out onto the field when I was about 14 and they threw footballs into the crowd,” Lazarus recalled.

“And this one ball came across and I jumped up and got it on the ground and there was all these bigger kids that were trying to take it off me and I was doing my best to hang on to it.

“The next minute, my mate’s brother grabbed me and pulled me out of the ruckus that was going on and I managed to get away with this football.

"It was painted blue and white for the Blues and I was just so excited to have it.”

Raiders v Sharks - Round 5, 1988

After making his debut for the Raiders in 1987, Lazarus quickly became a key part of the Green Machine and was selected in the 1988 President’s XIII match against Great Britain at Seiffert Oval.

“I think I actually scored a try in that game, which is very rare for me,” Lazarus said.

“It was a very special moment for me because it started my rep career and I've got very fond memories of that.

“As a kid growing up we had touring Great Britain and New Zealand teams play against Monaro at Seiffert and there was a KB Cup competition which also had a few games there.

“So it was amazing to think that not that long ago I was a kid carrying around a book with 100 players pictures in it, hell bent on getting everyone's signature so I loved going to watch any game at Seiffert.”

Glenn Lazarus won back-to-back premierships with the Raiders in 1989 and 1990.
Glenn Lazarus won back-to-back premierships with the Raiders in 1989 and 1990. ©NRL

Having returned home to Canberra in 2022 to be closer to family, the man affectionately dubbed 'The Brick With Eyes' enjoys catching up with his former teammates and reliving the glory days.

“Whenever you win a grand final, you share a pretty special bond with that group,” he said.

“But one of the things that was really special about that group was there was a lot of local players within it.

"Ricky and I grew up in Queanbeyan, Clydey and Chris O’Sullivan grew up in Canberra and even Daley came as a young kid from down the road at Junee, so it still had that country feel about it,

“It was just a really special time for the club, but '89 was particularly special. It was our first premiership and Canberra changed when we won it.

“I think they were very proud of the fact that they had the best rugby league side in the country and it was certainly party time.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Canberra Raiders respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.