Originally I was going to write this weeks article about how good it was that Canberra had finally made a marquee signing. I even had it all written and ready to go but Wednesday night brought a twist in the story. Forget about being unable to sign Kevin Proctor or Josh Mansour, The Raiders had a key signing who played in one of the important spine positions. Well James Tedesco’s back flip has now proven the point- no young player wants to live in the nations capital, no matter how much you pay them.
Now I am no Canberra supporter by any means but I must admit I have a soft spot for them. I loved watching their exciting brand of football in 2010 and thought it may have been the dawn of a new dynasty. 2012 also showed a lot of promise for them, but again it amounted to nothing as seen by the last two years performances. James Tedesco’s signature was believed to be the turning point which finally showed that Canberra can attract quality players. That is now all in tatters as the green machine are now looking at a pretty bleak future.
Now I get that it’s hard to attract players to the nations capital, heck i wouldn’t want to live there, and this is why Canberra have to pay overs to secure recruits. With several players turning them down in recent weeks it shows that sometimes even overs won’t do the job. That would suggest that the Raiders should concentrate on junior development but that isn’t working either. Canberra are of course able to develop great players, the problem is that the cream of the crop all end up leaving. Anthony Milford, Todd Carney and Josh Dugan are all evidence of this. The Carney and Dugan cases hurt the most as the club were forced to sack them before seeing other clubs benefit from Canberra’s hardline stance. Lets not forget about Blake Ferguson either, not a local junior but someone who developed significantly as a footballer while playing at the Raiders. If you believe reports the Roosters will have the strike centre in their squad for next year. No doubt this will be another case of Canberra seeing a rival club excel with one of their ex players as a key attacking weapon. Even Josh Papali signed elsewhere last year before doing a back flip himself.
Now lets look at the players that Canberra have managed to recruit in the last five or so years. Matt Orford was brought in at the end of his career and it was a disaster (I don’t think he even won a game while playing at the club). Bill Tupou came to the club as he wasn’t getting a look in at the Warriors and Joel Edwards is solid without being spectacular. Ferguson proved to be a good buy for a while but we all know how that turned out. Brett White and David Shillington have probably been their best recruits but you wouldn’t call either of them game breakers. Over this time Canberra have missed out on plenty of big signings to other clubs as well.
I don’t know what the Raiders are showing potential recruits when they travel down to Canberra to see the facilities but they have to reevaluate this asap because at the moment complimentary passes to Questacon, free drinks at Mooseheads and great seats to watch question time just aren’t cutting it.