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Opinion

The forgotten players: Canberra Raiders

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Roar Guru
16th November, 2020
20
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The Canberra Raiders entered the big time in 1982 and since then have had 367 players pull on the green jersey in first grade.

Club legends to play over 200 games for the Green Machine include Laurie Daley, Simon Woolford, Jarrod Croker, Ruben Wiki, Jason Croker and Ricky Stuart.

But what about the players who came and went from the club in no time flat?

1. Peter Benson
A handy player who surprisingly only played 50 top-level games in his five-year career in Australia, Benson came to the Raiders in 1994 and was selected twice, before moving mid-season to the Gold Coast.

2. Mitch Brennan
What a player! An electric outside back with speed to burn, Brennan came to the Raiders in 1994 at the age of 32 and never really recaptured his best form, as injuries restricted him to just eight appearances in three years.

3. Michael Blake
A Manly junior, Blake played 66 games on the northern beaches in a six-year stint before heading to the nation’s capital for the 1985 and 1986 seasons, where he was selected in just seven games.

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4. Michael Maguire
Before embarking on a successful coaching career, Maguire played 18 first-grade games ove seven years. A Canberra junior with a rugby union background, Maguire played 11 times for the Raiders between 1992 and 1996.

Tigers head coach Michael Maguire

Michael Maguire (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

5. Kris Tassell
Hailing from Mt Isa, Tassell made his debut when he turned out for Canberra in the 1992 season. He played just two games that year before moving on, playing the bulk of his career in England, including four Test matches for Wales.

6. Alan Smith
A classy pivot from the Brisbane competition, Smith had a brief tilt at the Sydney game, firstly with North Sydney in 1980 and 1981, and then with Canberra in the 1982 season, turning out 11 times. He also played seven games for Queensland, the last of which was the first-ever Origin game in 1980.

7. Matt Orford
The powerfully built half was both a Dally M Medalist and a premiership winner, with over 240 games under his belt by the time he joined the Raiders for the 2011 season. He played six matches before injury brought his career to an end.

8. Alex Corvo
Corvo’s only taste of first grade came in 1991, when he was selected for five games for the Milk. Since retirement, he has carved out a successful career as a club trainer.

9. Stuart Flanagan
A promising junior from Cooma, Flanagan played four games for the Raiders in 2009 before heading to the Sharks in 2010, where he was one of the casualties of the supplements debacle.

10. Steve Trindall
Trindall was a big, no-nonsense forward who made his debut at the age of 20 for the Raiders in 1993, playing five games in a three-year. Leaving Canberra in 1996, he went on to play over 250 games at the top level in both Australia and England.

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11. Brian Battese
A tough second-rower who more than earned the nickname ‘Bruiser’, Battese began his career in the Brisbane competition before making his way to Wests in 1983. His final season in the big time was with the Raiders in 1988, when he played just two games. He went on to coach the Australian schoolboys.

12. Glenn Ryan
Ryan had eight years with Manly before heading south in 1991, playing just five games for the Raiders in his final season.

13. Kyle O’Donnell
The younger brother of Luke O’Donnell, Kyle was a Junior Kangaroo and a powerful forward who never realised his potential. After making his debut for the Knights in 2012, he came to the Raiders in 2014 and was selected in first grade on five occasions.

14. Kevin Beardmore
A tough hooker or front rower, Beardmore was the first of Canberra’s English imports. He played nearly 250 games for Castleford and 14 games for England in a 15-year career and squeezed in just two games for the Raiders in the 1985 season.

15. Anthony Seibold
A prop forward who played only 14 games in the NRL, all with the Raiders during the 1997 and 1998 seasons. He played in France before joining the Raiders and later returned to play in the UK and Queensland before embarking on a coaching career.

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16. Nathan Smith
Smith was a quality back rower and Canberra junior who got his start in 2004, playing seven games. After contract disputes, he headed to Penrith in 2007 where he established himself over the next nine seasons.

17. Danny Lomax
The brother of John Lomax, Danny played four games for the Raiders in the 1994 and 1995 seasons, and a total of 88 games in his career. He also represented both New Zealand and New Zealand Maoris.