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Monday, January 18, 2021
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At a glance: Raiders 2019 season

The Roosters defeated the Raiders 14-8 after leading 8-6 at halftime. A late second-half try to James Tedesco against the run of play proved the difference as the Roosters claimed back-to-back premierships in front of an 82,922 strong crowd at ANZ Stadium, Sydney.

Best on ground

Despite the result, Jack Wighton was recognised as best on ground, claiming the Clive Churchill Medal, only the fourth player to do so from a losing team.

After a tumultuous 2018, which saw Wighton receive a suspended jail sentence for a drunken assault at a nightclub and banned for 10 matches, he has had a remarkable season after a positional switch from fullback to five-eighth.

The successful transition has seen Wighton rewarded with a State of Origin debut for NSW and he was named in the Australian squad alongside teammates Nick Cotric and Josh Papalii.

The Raiders’ on-field success has also translated to representative selection for Elliott Whitehead and Ryan Sutton named in the England squad for the upcoming World Cup Nines, while Corey Horsburgh and Emre Guler have been named in the Junior Kangaroos side.

Sia’s a winner

Even before kick-off, Sia Soliola was a winner, named as the recipient of this year’s Ken Stephens Medal.

The award recognises the efforts of an NRL player who has not only achieved on the field, but has committed time off the field to community projects.

Soliola’s citation describes his involvement in an extensive range of activities including Shave for a Cure, NRLD School Holiday Clinic and McHappy Day as part of his club commitments. In addition, he works each Monday in the Early Morning Centre’s Soup Kitchen; has donated his time to the Vinnie’s CEO Sleepout; is an ambassador for children with Angelman’s Syndrome and Menslink, and has also been involved with Kulture Break.

Recognition for Raiders

The Raiders had a number of nominees at the Dally M awards night on Wednesday 2 October, however the only success came for John Bateman named in the second-row for Team of the Year honours.

Other nominees included: Jarrod Croker (Captain of the Year and Centre of the Year), Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (Fullback of the Year), Jack Wighton (Five-eighth of the Year), Josh Papalii (Prop of the Year), Josh Hodgson (Hooker of the Year), and Ricky Stuart (Coach of the Year).

Local support

While a large contingent of supporters travelled to Sydney for the grand final, there was plenty of support back home. Around 400 people watched the match unfold on the big screen set up outdoors at Raiders Belconnen, with more watching inside.

The club also hosted the Raiders on Tuesday 8 October, providing fans the opportunity to welcome the team home, hear from the players and celebrate their achievements this season.

A popular choice

According to Telstra, the Canberra Raiders topped the charts as the most streamed team in the 2019 home-and-away season, with supporters logging an impressive 43.5 million minutes in the NRL Live official app and Telstra Live Pass.

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Ian Cubitts
Ian Cubitts