After the Canberra Raiders’ upset victory over the Melbourne Storm on Saturday night, the Green Machine have already marked themselves as one the favourites to take out this year’s premiership.
It’s no easy feat travelling to Melbourne to play the Storm any day of the week but to defeat the most consistent team of the past twenty years three times in a row tells us something big is brewing in the nation’s capital.
However, as the new 2020 draw was released a couple of weeks ago and the venues for the matches were announced, did the NRL completely forget about the 2019 runners-up?
Personally, I didn’t think much of it either however once NRL 360 started up again last week and Paul Kent mentioned the Raiders’ upcoming travel woes I thought to myself, what an absolute stitch-up.
Why is it that the teams not based in New South Wales (the Storm, Broncos and Cowboys) are allowed to play their “home” games at their home stadium but the Raiders can’t?
Why are the Raiders having to play their home games in Campbelltown?
Is it because it’s logistically easier for the Sydney-based clubs?
That shouldn’t matter! It’s a home game for the Raiders!
The travel that is now involved for the Raiders week in week out is quite outrageous. Having to fly back and forth from Canberra to Bankstown airport and to then bus from the airport to the stadium and back again straight after the match is pretty dismal.
On Saturday night coach Ricky Stuart couldn’t attend the regular post-match press conference as the team had to fly out of Melbourne as soon as possible due to incoming fog in Canberra.
If they weren’t able to land in Canberra the team would have had to fly to either Sydney or Wagga Wagga and then bus it back to Canberra, however they wouldn’t know if they were able to land in Canberra until they were in the air.
Luckily for the Raiders, they were able to land in Canberra but if they did actually have to divert then they wouldn’t have arrived back to base until 5 or 6 AM the following morning.
But this is what they’re going to have to do every week for the next five months or so.
They’re never going to have the opportunity to play in their home stadium this year.
The players are not going to have the opportunity to go through their regular match-day routines they’ve been doing for years, sit in their own locker room, play on the turf they’ve become accustomed to at GIO Stadium because they have to make their way up to Sydney play a ‘home’ game.
Whereas the Storm, Broncos and Cowboys will be able to do this nearly every second week.
Is it going to get to the point further in to the season that the Raiders are going to become burnt out from the travel involved? I hope not.
Based on last year’s performance I think they’re everybody’s second-favourite team (mine included)!
Are we not going to be able to witness the Green Machine at their finest towards the end of the season due this dismal decision by the NRL?
Don’t get me wrong, the NRL and Peter V’landys have done a terrific job in getting the NRL back up and running however this really irritates me.
I think more questions have been raised rather than answered.