THE FORWARD PASS | Canberra’s Bold Move

The fake news that’s actually fake.

Fed up with being mistreated by the NRL, the Canberra Raiders will play in the UK Super League and Challenge Cup from 2021.

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“We know the NRL have hated us for at least 20 years, but the travel debacle before the prelim was the final straw, so we’re going to the Super League,” said a frustrated Ricky Stuart. “I spoke to Bellyache [Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy] about it after the game, and he said we’d be better off in the UK. Bellyache went through his dramas with the NRL in 2010, so he knows what he’s talking about.”

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Rather than completely relocate for Super League and the Challenge Cup, Canberra will follow a ‘four home-four away’ method: they’ll play a month at GIO Stadium, then play a month in the UK.

“I know it sounds a bit awkward, but the Brumbies have been travelling to New Zealand and South Africa for 25 years, so I’ve been talking to the Brumbies boys to get some tips. I hope our loyal fans are excited about this as I am: we’ll still play our home games in Canberra, we’ll still represent the ACT, we’ll still do the Viking Clap, we’ll still proudly wear the ACT colours on our jersey, we just won’t be with the bloody NRL anymore,” said Stuart.

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With the Toronto Wolfpack’s future uncertain, the Raiders will slot in as the 12th Super League team, and are already in talks with Wigan to try and re-sign John Bateman.

Robert Elstone, the Super League Chief Executive, welcomes the Raiders’ move.

“We respect the NRL as the world’s greatest rugby league competition, so to have one of their major clubs come to Super League is truly an honour.”

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Elstone isn’t worried that the Raiders could potentially dominate Super League.

“I expect the Raiders to hit the ground running. Playing against an elite Australian team will force our teams to quickly improve. It’ll be good for our competition. I can’t wait for the Raiders-Wigan games: they’ll be absolute sledge-fests.”

The NRL have already moved on, fast-tracking the Brisbane Bombers for 2021 in the Raiders’ absence.

“Good riddance to Canberra. The Raiders have never rated well, and the NRL’s been screaming for a second Brisbane team, so everyone wins,” said NRL CEO Andrew Abdo.

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Channel Nine CEO Hugh Marks is thrilled by the news. “We always tried to pretend the Raiders never existed, so this is a dream come true! So long, losers!”

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To sweeten the deal for their loyal fans, Canberra’s UK away games will be streamed for free on the Raiders website. Fox Sports will telecast all their home games.

The Forward Pass is a fictional and deliberately ridiculous look at the NRL. References to real people is for satirical purposes only. Check it out on Twitter @thefwdpass

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