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Canberra have reportedly been fined $150,000 by the ACT government for planning to hold a home NRL match in Wagga next year.
The Canberra Times reports the Raiders planned the match on May 4 to give regional fans a chance to see a game, but the Territory government say the plan breaches a deal to play all matches in the capital.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro was furious about the decision, especially given his state has committed $4 million towards the Raiders’ new $19 million base at Braddon.
“The ACT isn’t an island. The Raiders are the NRL team for thousands of fans in Southern NSW. Many of the Raiders’ greatest players are sons of regional NSW,” Barilaro told the newspaper.
“Stars like Junee’s Laurie Daley or Queanbeyan’s Terry Campese and Ricky Stuart are titans of the game.
“If this is how the ACT government is going to treat the Raiders and their fans, then maybe it’s time to start thinking about bringing the Raiders back to Seiffert Oval and the investment it would take to make that happen.”
The year is 1987; Cliffy Lyons guides Manly to the Winfield Cup.
Shaun Johnson won’t head to Canberra for next year’s NRL season, even if he does successfully gain a release from the Warriors.
Over the next few weeks I will be looking at the contenders and pretenders for the 2019 NRL season.
As season 2018 disappears further into the rearview it’s time to look ahead.