The 10 Plagues of the Canberra Raiders
Eric Grothe in action during the NRL, Parramatta Eels v Canberra Raiders. AAP Image/Action Photographics, Grant Trouville
“There are plagues, and there are victims, and it’s the duty of good men not to join forces with the plagues,” Albert Camus (French bloke). Like a lot of rugby league fans, I’d long since grown bored with the moaning from Canberra Raiders supporters.
I had no particular beef with the club, but the constant hard luck stories they extolled to all within earshot had worn as thin as Terry Campese’s hair follicles.
However, seeing the sadness in my capital cousins’ eyes, I took it upon myself to do my best Agent Mulder impersonation and investigate their case of supernatural level misfortune.
And what I found was startling.
For it appears that the Green Machine have in recent times indeed been visited by a great scourge, a fearsome plague.
Or, ten to be more precise. And perhaps most startling and conveniently for this writer, they directly mirror those to have befallen Egypt in Biblical times.
So here they are, the 10 Plagues of the Canberra Raiders:
Aside from having the misfortune of having Brett ‘the Bleeder’ White at their club, the Raiders have had to ‘blood’ more youngsters than they would have liked to lately. While some have thrived in the step up from a successful under-20′s side, others are a little green even for the Raiders liking.
When Jarrod ‘Froggy’ Croker missed that penalty kick in the 2010 semi-final fans were disheartened, but assured of going even further in 2011. Unfortunately things have been mostly downhill for the Raiders since, and poor old Frog hasn’t got a rep look in past City v Country since.
Also, there’s stories about Brad Clyde and a certain French player from a few years ago still doing the rounds….
Well you lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas. Other than that I’m going to leave this one right alone (like I wish Mona had!)
For some reason Canberra has had more than it’s fair share of ‘wild child’ players over the years. Unlike a lot of other clubs the Raiders have taken a pretty strong stance about poor player behaviour, turfing out Todd Carney despite his obvious talent and pulling the new ‘empty’ and ‘nought’ Dugan and Ferguson from first grade when required.
All of which has been of no benefit to the first grade team itself as other clubs circle like vultures hoping to pick up any cheap discards, or force Canberra to pay overs for those that remain with the club.
Pestilence to stock:
The Raiders playing stocks have suffered enormously through injury over the past two seasons, with Terry Campese headlining a long list of players missing chunks of the season.
Not that too many Raiders fans were crying into their Lime Milk when the family’s Ox took ill admittedly…
Boils? Boils! I suppose that a one-off carbuncle could be explained, but this week is the second time in five years the Raiders have been struck down by boils. This is getting Shakespearian now! Do these blokes own a bottle of Dettol? A pox on thee!
Ok, now I can’t recall this happening to any other NRL side
This is getting weird…
Well I’d love to say Barry Gomersall (RIP) cruelled the Raiders in the 87 GF, but it’s not the case. However, Canberra is one of the few places on the NRL map that has in fact dealt with locusts and grasshoppers invasions over the last decade. A pest in any sense of the word, a locust horde will devour all in its path leaving locals with years of rebuilding…a bit like the Bulldogs at Manly.
As plague number seven would indicate, Canberra can occasionally get a bit cool. A little bit brisk. In their infinite wisdom then, the NRL has largely plunged the Raiders into an eternal darkness by condemning them to a swag of unpopular night time games, largely ‘blacking them out’ from any free-to-air coverage.
In ancient Egypt the first born son of each family was killed. Not cool.
While not even your most deranged car keying fan would wish to harm the eldest Furner brother Don Jr, I’m sure Raiders fans would appreciate a little bit more transparency between him and little bro Dave when it comes to the future of the football team.
Watching a much loved former player like David Furner continually putting out spot fires while mini Don shrugs his shoulders and says “I Dunno” hardly seems like the response you want from a modern professional sporting team on the edge of greatness.
Because after all as my old French mate Albert alluded to, it’s unfortunate to be a victim of bad luck (just ask Brad Clyde!)
But, it’s inexcusable to be directly contributing to your own downfall.
Time to give the Green Machine the once over.
Follow Chris on Twitter: Vic_Arious@twitter.com
Chris Chard is a sports humour writer commenting on the often absurd nature of professional sport. A rugby league fan boy with a good blend of youth and experience taking things one week at a time, Chris has written for The Roar, Rugby League Player Magazine, US Sports Downunder, the QRL and People. Tweet him @Vic_Arious
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