Raiders consider relocating to Civic to join City to the Lake project

The Canberra Raiders are poised to move their training base to Civic to embrace the City to the Lake project, keen to capitalise on the ACT government's vision to revitalise the city in the coming years.

But Raiders chief executive Don Furner says the plans are contingent on securing the finances required to shift from Bruce to Northbourne Oval and assurances from the government that a new state of the art stadium will be built.

The Raiders may leave their current headquarters in Bruce.
The Raiders may leave their current headquarters in Bruce. Photo: Jay Cronan

The Raiders begin their NRL season on Sunday when they play the Cronulla Sharks and are hoping to turn around their on-field fortunes under coach Ricky Stuart after recent lean years.

The club is also working towards a training base overhaul, considering plans for a new facility which would be built adjacent to the club's $80 million redevelopment project in Braddon.

"We're looking at it down the track, we're talking 2017, we'd like to move back into Braddon," Furner said.

"What we built out there in Bruce was supposed to be built in Braddon. We own Northbourne Oval, so ultimately it would be good to be back there because we own the land. At Bruce we're on a licence agreement and it's owned by CIT.


"If we needed new lights or a new ground or sprinklers ... it's not our asset. There are two different leases at Braddon ... if the [redevelopment] gets going hopefully we'll have the funds to develop a new training facility."

Stuart will finalise his squad on Tuesday for the NRL season opener, with lock Shaun Fensom the only serious injury concern after injuring his hamstring at training.

Fensom had a knee reconstruction last year, but a training mishap has put him in doubt for round one. He has had an injection in an attempt to speed up his recovery and will have scans on Monday to see if he will be fit in time to play the Sharks.

Stuart hopes renewed competition in the squad will push the Green Machine to greater heights this year, adding recruits Josh Hodgson, Frank-Paul Nu'uausala and Sia Soliola while representative prop David Shillington is also fit again.

Mitch Cornish is favoured to get the first chance in the No.7 jersey, but Stuart will wait until later in the week before deciding on a line-up.

The Raiders' potential move into the city will not happen until at least 2017 as they weigh up their future and keep a close eye on the government's plans to give Civic a makeover.

Plans for a new $350 million rectangular stadium with a roof have been put on hold while the government foots the bill for the Mr Fluffy asbestos clean-up.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr is hopeful the stadium will be built between 2020 and 2025.

The ACT Brumbies have moved into a new $16 million training facility at the University of Canberra, but the Raiders are prepared to break away from the sporting hub near the university and the AIS to be a part of a redesigned city landscape.

"Historically we should have been in Braddon. It might not be until 2018 before anything happens, I don't know," Furner said.

"But if a new stadium comes in, it would be great to be around the corner from it. The city will be vibrant ... the reliance on Canberra Stadium and the AIS won't be as much and we've got our own in-house doctors and physios now.

"There's a long way to go, planning and finances have to come into it. We need the money first to make it happen."

The Raiders will meet with government and Canberra Stadium officials in the coming week to build plans for greater fan engagement at home games in an attempt to lure crowds back to NRL matches.

The Raiders' first home game is against the New Zealand Warriors on March 15.


Sunday: Cronulla Sharks v Canberra Raiders at Cronulla, 6.30pm. TV time: Live on Fox Sports 1