In a win for the Canberra District Rugby League (CDRL) community at all levels, construction began on the Canberra Raiders’ new $19 million high performance Braddon facility on Monday 12 November.
Due to be complete in 51 weeks, by this time next year the Green Machine are hoping to kick off their pre-season in their new state-of-the-art centre at Northbourne Oval after making finals for the first time since 2016.
The project has three key stakeholders: the Raiders, and the ACT and NSW governments.
The ACT Government hast contributed $5 million while the NSW Government chipped in $4 million.
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro says interstate investment like this is quite rare.
“It’s a unique day when a NSW Government is investing in infrastructure in another jurisdiction, but we see great benefit to the southern parts of NSW.
“We’re going to see a state-of-the-art facility right here in the heart of Canberra supporting not only the elite pathway of the Raiders, but also grassroots football,” he says.
“Players across southern NSW will benefit with borderless access to high level coaching, training and mentoring at this brand new purpose-built centre.”
Raiders CEO Don Furner says the facilities will give the club a plethora of advantages, including rehabilitation, training and recruitment.
“You’ve got to keep up with everyone else and give the best facilities to the athletes,” he says.
“This CDRL Centre will provide a world class rugby league facility to help service and grow the game from all around our region including the ACT, Queanbeyan, Goulburn, Cooma, the Hilltops region, the South Coast and the Riverina.”
The Raiders were based out of Northbourne Oval until they moved to Bruce 18 years ago; Mr Furner says the club has long wanted to return to their spiritual home.
“We trained here in demountables … Mal coached out of here.
“And junior footy has been played here as long as I can remember … to come back here, Braddon is far more alive than it was when we were last here 18 years ago,” he says.
Raiders captain Jarrod Croker says the side has been anticipating the move back to Braddon for some time.
“I think it’s a bit of a freshen-up for the whole club, and for a lot of the staff and players who have been here a while, it’s something to look forward to.”