Illustration: John Shakespeare
A well-placed Raiders source confided in me earlier this week: ''The world's about to change.''
The next day, long-standing Raiders patriarch and chairman John McIntye announced his impending retirement from the board.
Later the same night, three-time Raiders premiership-winning player Ricky Stuart controversially quit the Parramatta Eels to accept a three-year deal to coach Canberra.
This was the seismic shift our NRL Nostradamus was alluding to, an earthquake of change. But what are Raiders fans to expect of the aftershocks?
Are the Raiders just erecting new structures on already flawed foundations, or do fans dare to believe the Raiders have given themselves the necessary shake-up to become a premiership force again?
Critics are quick to claim changes are cosmetic, that the underlying fabric of the club remains the same.
First, let's look to the coach.
The sacked coach - David Furner - played 200 NRL games for the Raiders, was a NSW Origin and Australian representative, a Clive Churchill medallist and brother of the chief executive.
The new coach - Stuart - played 203 NRL games for the Raiders, was a NSW Origin and Australian representative, a Clive Churchill medallist and is best friend of the chief executive.
This is not to imply there was anything misappropriate about the selection process for Stuart. But it is a fact.
It is also fact chief executive Don Furner - who always maintained he removed himself from negotiations involving his brother to avoid claims of nepotism - was the man who made the final recommendation to the Raiders board that Stuart be appointed.
This has been confirmed by incoming chairman Allan Hawke and club legend Mal Meninga, both members of the sub-committee charged with compiling a short-list of candidates.
The final short-list included Stuart, interim Raiders coach Andrew Dunemann, sacked North Queensland coach Neil Henry, Australia coach Tim Sheens and England coach Tony Smith.
Who's to say Stuart, who coached the Roosters to three consecutive grand finals and was deemed good enough to steer both NSW Origin and Australia, was not the best man for the job?
But until he can prove himself again, by improving a dismal winning percentage in his past three years (29 per cent) as an NRL coach, critics will claim Canberra's coaching role remains a 'job for the boys'.
It's a challenge Stuart himself knows is ahead - but don't expect him to back down.
Here is a man who fronted up for the Parramatta Eels presentation the day after quitting the club one year into a three-year deal. He'd sacked 12 players mid-season and was leaving them with the wooden spoon.
While some have branded him a quitter, that in itself took guts.
Stuart says he can cop the criticism for leaving Parramatta, but asks for a chance in Canberra.
And maybe the change will be good for him, too. His family is here, his wife's family is here. That support will provide a better environment for his autistic daughter Emma, and maybe in turn for his coaching.
The players, particularly the young, emerging generation, had campaigned for Dunemann.
They did him no favours by losing the last three games he was in charge by big margins, but it's unfair to think that was was a reflection of his coaching.
On Wednesday night, at the club's presentation evening, some Raiders players claimed there would be an exodus if Dunemann left the club.
On Friday he was sacked - immediately. Will players then leave with him?
Stuart's first task will be to retain a playing roster brimming with young talent, led by Anthony Milford and Jack Wighton.
Now to the Raiders' administration.
In Canberra, where rumour circulates the city faster than ACTION buses, there is some talk of Don Furner's position being in jeopardy.
Not so, says the board, and perhaps justifiably.
While the Raiders have lurched from one disaster to the next on and off the field this season, Furner has been able to attract and retain record sponsorship. He has done his job.
He took it upon himself to deliver the news to his brother David that he'd been sacked.
The next step is for the rich Raiders, funded by a litter of licensed clubs and investment properties, to open those purse strings for their football department.
To invest in the rugby league teams for its success, not look at the Raiders NRL team as a financial drain.
Appointing Stuart is the first evidence they are more prepared to do that, given his asking price would have been far more than David Furner's.
There is evidence the Raiders board is becoming more democratic than autocratic, too.
Since 1982 the McIntyre family has ruled the Raiders. First via founding father and chairman Les McIntyre, then his son John McIntyre as chairman since 2002.
McIntyre has been so defiant in the past about calls for him to stand down. But he says his decision to retire came after his board convinced him that David Furner must be sacked.
The Raiders had never sacked a coach in 32 years. But suddenly results took priority over loyalty. The board was thinking business. More ruthless.
The injection of new blood in recent years has affected some positive change on the board.
It still needs to make progress. There are no females among the nine members, which could be a valuable addition.
Yes, the Raiders' world has changed this week. But it can't stop here if the Raiders are to be a success again.