The Roar
The Roar


Canberra a bad boy breeding ground?

Roar Rookie
29th March, 2013
1079 Reads

Todd Carney didn’t survive it. Josh Dugan didn’t either. Blake Ferguson is one sleep in away from joining them.

What is it about Canberra that makes young players go gaga?

Is it Fyshwick? Is it the fireworks? Is it the robust political discussion?

Todd Carney wasn’t just an issue in the nation’s capital alone, famously once being banned from his hometown of Goulburn.

One wonders if there were ardent Raiders supports sitting atop the Big Merino gazing into the South-West looking for a man with flaming dice tattoos.

He was also sacked by the Roosters for drinking during the close of their 2011 season, although their performance during those stages left one reaching for a stiff drink.

Dugan, too, has found trouble away from Canberra, but even before his ultimate punishment he confided that he cited Canberra’s open space as the problem; the meticulously planned streets giving him too much room to cause mischief.

I’m not making this up.


So is Walter Burley Griffin to blame for the propensity of fully-grown men to get drunk and misbehave when they are asked not to?

Are the stately roads that surround the Australian capital only driving these men to throw themselves about more on the sauce than on the field?

It’s a bold theory from young Josh, but perhaps an American town planner born in the 19th century can’t wear all the blame for a 23 year-old Australian skipping work and deciding to drink Vodka mixers on his roof.

Feel free to contact me if you feel differently.

In sport there’s a theory that isolation breeds togetherness, an element of which is embedded in the Sydney Swans famous ‘no-dickhead policy’.

If you bring a group of committed players to a particular environment, be it a large town consumed by a rival code (see Melbourne Storm and Sydney Swans) or a small town consumed by your code (see Geelong Cats and Newcastle Knights) you are able to bond through the isolation.

You are either able to grow closer as a group, or you are galvanised by a community intent on seeing you reach your goals.


Canberra is not a one horse town, nor is it a big city, more a large collection of houses that lead to Parliament House.

It is also not a one code team, with the ACT Brumbies garnering much of the public servant support.

And while the greatest feature of the Canberra Raiders organisation is its nurturing of juniors from the NSW country areas, its greatest era featured surprisingly few locals.

Ricky Stuart and Laurie Daley, from Queanbeyan and Junee respectively, were joined by Queenslanders Mal Meninga and Steve Walters, New Zealanders John Lomax and Ruben Wiki and the incomparable Fijian Noa Nadruku.

But Canberra is an intelligent town. It is full of well educated professionals, and the residual effect of the Green Machine days is that even the most disinterested spectator knows their rugby league.

It should be the perfect mix of a small town behind one rugby league side.

Dugan recently mused he would be better at a “big city, one team” side, which appears to be a very thinly disguised indication his future lies with Brisbane, a team that has sacked more players in recent memory for ill-discipline than any other.


So we can count out the fireworks, there has been no incidents from players on that front.

Despite its sordid nature, there has been no NATO intervention in Fyshwick as yet, so it appears that can’t be the reason.

Walter Burley Griffin may still be a suspect, but his death nearly a century ago renders him a longshot.

Is it the recruitment staff, not performing due diligence, targeting young players with disciplinary issues?

Is it the player management team for fostering this poor behaviour?

Is it ticket prices at Bruce Stadium?

Or are the two most public bad boys in recent years coming from the same club just a coincidence?


Let us know, leave your suggestions underneath for why you think the Canberra Raiders have had problems with player discipline.

Before the ink is dry on Josh Dugan’s new contract, I’d like to know your thoughts.