Canberra Raiders SG Ball team stumbles to first loss of season in semi-final

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Canberra Raiders development boss David Hamilton says the club’s minor premiership-winning SG Ball team cost around $200,000 to put on the park, and hopes big name defections will reignite their fight for junior concessions.
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The Raiders performed an audit of their juniors six years ago which found it cost $7400 to cater for each junior once they were in the Raiders system, and up to $20,000 to relocate a player.

Unbeaten Canberra was upset by Manly 34-16 in Saturday’s SG Ball qualifying final, and will play Cronulla in an elimination final next week.

“We took a few guys into the game that had a few injuries and I just think mentally the day got to us,” coach Dean Souter said. “We went through the regular season without losing a game and that brings with it it’s own pressure.”

It’s a cost most clubs undertake, but the Raiders are one of the NRL leaders in successfully turning juniors into regular first graders.

The club invested significant time and money into Anthony Milford for years before his move to the Brisbane Broncos this season.

Raiders chief executive Don Furner has stated recently the club will review the investment it devotes to junior development if concessions aren’t introduced, and target NRL-ready players from other clubs such as Gold Coast recruit Aidan Sezer.

“Of course the juniors will always be there, it’s what sort of investment we put into them,'” Hamilton said. “Instead of bringing six or seven players in [to high performance set-up] I’ll probably bring two in.

“Not just the investment, the time and energy that goes into these kids is enormous. You’re giving them the best rugby league education you can, and that’s what the NRL needs to take into consideration.

“I reckon now we’d have a bigger ally with the Roosters since Roger [Tuivasa-Sheck] is going.

“If they went back and worked out how much that investment was, it’s frustrating to miss that player.

“If we’re going to continue to do this [development] you need compensation if you lose a player, or if you work with a player for so many years there’s compensation in the salary cap.”

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