Rugby League


Memorable Seiffert Oval moments as Canberra Raiders prepare to write another chapter

Former Canberra Raiders chief executive John McIntyre still has mates unwilling to forgive and forget his decision to move the club from Seiffert Oval. 

The Raiders will play a trial against Newcastle on Saturday at their spiritual home, where one of rugby league's greatest dynasties was born. 

Canberra won their first premiership in 1989, their last year at the venue before moving to Canberra Stadium. 

Current club chairman McIntyre remembers copping a backlash from many fans, with some of his close friends still refusing to make the trek to Bruce. 

"There's still some mates of mine who have never set foot out at Canberra Stadium, even through there's times I've extended the warm arm of hospitality to take them out," he said. 


"There was a bit of sadness with the move, I know my mother copped a bit of flak at the tennis club. 

"It was a successful move, nobody can argue that. The level of corporate support which became available at the club, the reality was you had to make that decision because it was what's best for the club."


April 18, 1982: Club's first win against Newtown, 12-11 - After seven straight losses in their inaugural year, the Raiders got the monkey off their backs by winning a thriller over the Jets. "We won the game when Steve O'Callaghan kicked a conversion from the sideline. The funny part of that was O'Callaghan was wearing odd football boots, one Puma and one Tiger," McIntyre said. 

July 8, 1984: Raiders beat Parramatta 14-10 - In a stunning upset the Raiders shocked the Eels, who had won the previous three premierships with a backline still regarded as arguably the best ever.  "[Raiders prop] David Grant scored a legendary try when Ray Warren called "he took off like [champion steeplechaser] Moss Trooper," McIntyre said. "I don't know if that was us coming of age, but it showed we were making strong progress with our five-year plan."

May 2, 1987: Mal Meninga breaks arm for first time - It was the moment that sent ripples of panic around Seiffert. The Raiders marquee man came off second best when colliding with a goalpost. It was the first of four arm breaks during Meninga's career. "My view is the broken arm extended Mal's career by a few years, it made him such a determined fellow," McIntyre said. "It seemed being out of the game for extended periods made him more passionate. It was scary and everybody was devastated at the time, none more so than the Raiders fans."

June 18, 1989: Raiders bt Broncos 27-6 - In front of a record crowd of 18,272, the Broncos spoiled the homecoming of former Raiders Sam Backo and Peter Jackson by hammering Wally Lewis-led Brisbane. "Only about 3000 of the crowd could sit down, the rest were standing up," McIntyre said. "We beat them so convincingly and they had a couple of former Raiders blokes in there."

August 20, 1989: Raiders bt Illawarra 16-6 - Canberra bid farewell to Seiffert Oval in style with a 16-6 win over the Steelers in the final premiership match at the venue. The win was Canberra's fourth in a row and they went on to beat St George in the final round the following week to make the finals. They then won four straight finals games to claim the premiership.