Simon McGuinness, Raiders.com.au, NRL
Former Raiders great Alan Tongue is predicting that Canberra fans in their droves will be welcoming fellow red head Joel Edwards with open arms in 2013.
Tongue was one of Canberra’s favourite sons throughout his 220 game career and believes that the Raiders faithful will warm instantaneously to Edwards given the bull-at-a-gate style in which he plays the game.
“I think he’s a fantastic acquisition to the squad,” said Tongue. “He’s a renowned defender and when you think of him coming into the side with players like Shaun Fensom and Josh Papalii there will be plenty of sting in our defence in 2013.”
“He’s also got a lot of skill in him as well which a lot of people have overlooked. If the coaching staff keeps encouraging him to utilise his skills then he’ll provide a great change up in the forwards.”
“I definitely think Raiders fans will warm to Joel. The way he plays and the defensive aggression that he plays with will have Raiders fans jumping on board the Edwards’ fan club.”
“Sun screen stocks and red hair dye will definitely go up in sales figures next year,” laughed Tongue. “All jokes aside though, I think the fans will love him and I personally can’t wait to watch him run out and play.”
After missing out on the semi-finals with the Newcastle Knights last year, Edwards has revealed how excited he was watching the Raiders’ brilliant semi-final run knowing that he was to be joining the Green Machine in 2013.
“Watching them playing a great brand of footy last year during their great run of form leading into the semi-finals was definitely exciting for me knowing that I was joining the club,” said Edwards.
“The move down here has been great so far. The boys and the club have been very welcoming which has made the transition really easy.”
“The Raiders had a great year and were unlucky in the end but hopefully we can build on that for next year and that’s what we’re working hard on.”
“It’s an exciting time to come down here and I can’t wait for round one.”
Edwards was humbled when told of the praise bestowed upon him by Tongue and revealed that he had always admired Tongue during his playing days.
“He was a real workhorse and is the sort of person that a club is built around so it was great to hear a bloke like Tonguey giving me a rap. He being a redhead makes me appreciate it all the more,” laughed Edwards.
With Christmas fast approaching, Edwards is also keenly anticipating meeting several other vitally important members of the Raiders family.
“The Raiders captivated the rugby league public last year and I’m excited to be involved with the club this year.”
“This is my new home now and I look forward to meeting many of our passionate fans at our upcoming events such as the Members Christmas party.”
“The Raiders have a great initiative called 100-4-100 which rewards 100 random members with 100 special acts. I was speaking to a few of the boys about it and it can range anywhere from attending a member’s wedding to playing ten pin bowling with some junior members in the school holidays.”
“Canberra Stadium was a sea of lime green in the semi-final against the Sharks last year and I hope that great sight can be replicated many times throughout 2013 with as many members jumping on board as possible.”
With the addition of Edwards to Canberra’s already impressive roster, there is plenty for Raiders members to be excited about in 2013.
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