After the departures of Dane Tilse and Dave Shillington last season, the Canberra Raiders have struggled to fill the gaping hole at prop forward for next year. Coach Ricky Stuart has brought in Jeff Lima, who hasn’t played in the NRL since 2010, ostensibly for his ‘veteran leadership’, or as we like to call it ‘veteranship’. But Stuart also said that might not be enough and that he was still on the lookout for more forwards. We thought we could provide him with a few pointers to other players who might have ‘veteranship’.
We loved Johnny back in the day. He was as physical as forwards come and loved the hard work in the middle. Sure he was a little bit undisciplined. He had a few problems with high shots and who doesn’t remember he missed the 1994 grand final because he got suspended? And look, it seems his recent legal issues have gone away, so he might even have a bit of free time. High potential veteranship.
My memories of Todd are of him leading the team song after the Raiders won the 1989 grand final. He had a bit of an unearned reputation for being less-than-stellar in the ball handling department, but so did Dane ‘Spills’ Tilse, so he’d fill that role perfectly. Oh, he had problems with pokie fraud? Maybe not so perfect then.
Now there’s class. A member of the indigenous players of the century, a Raider back in the day, rampaging ball runner; what more could you want? I wonder if he’s match fit?
Still. Dead set legend. Moving on.
The Brick With Eyes! Who could be more perfect than the guy that won premierships with not one, but three clubs! Oh, he’s busy? Well he can’t possibly be in that job for much longer right? 2019? We’ll keep that idea on ice.
Perfectly filled in the 1994 grand final with two of the greatest around-the-corner passes you will see a prop forward throw. So clearly has got the fill-in thing sorted. Before that he could probably even be considered a serviceable front-rower for the Raiders and the Dragons. Not all his political beliefs are to my liking, but he did manage to get Todd Carney to go to Rwanda to build houses for widows and orphans.
Now that’s leadership!