Legacy jersey to inspire Raiders
Rangy Raiders front-rower Dane Tilse has spoken with pride of Canberra's heritage, embodied in a 'legacy' jumper they will wear on Saturday afternoon against Penrith for Men of League Heritage Round.
The jumper contains the name of every man to have played first-grade for the Raiders and if you look close enough you'll see not one, but two, Tilses – with Dane's dad, Mick, being a part of the inaugural Raiders side in 1982.
"It's something I'm very proud of. Obviously this club has got a big history and with my dad being down here playing the first game – hopefully we can do the new heritage jersey proud," Tilse said.
"[Dad] said they had a good time the first couple of years. They had guys from all over the place and they all happened to come together as a team. They had some tough periods and some really good times as well."
Rowan Brennan, another member of the 1982 Raiders squad, described the legacy jersey as a great honour considering the class of players he is listed alongside. He spoke fondly when describing the initial years of the Raiders club.
"We were all outsiders so we all had to bond together and we became very close – as a result it was like family. The culture that we produced, you literally died for each other on and off the field," Brennan said.
Speaking of on the field, Tilse cannot wait to get out to Sportingbet Stadium "full steam ahead' and "get into them" come Saturday, when the Raiders take on a physical Panthers forward pack.
"We want to get two wins in a row. It's a pretty good effort if we can win three out of five with only the one home game, so it will be good if we can achieve that," Tilse said.
"They have some really good hitters there in [Adam] Docker and Nigel Plum and Tim Grant, [Sam] McKendry - they've got a really strong forward pack. We're going to have to be really good."
Raiders lock, Shaun Fensom is another who is keen to secure his side's recent form despite being under an injury cloud after suffering an elbow strain last weekend.
"We ended up getting away with the win [last weekend] with only two men on the bench, we need to consolidate that and go into this week and also get a win so we can start getting some wins back-to-back," Fensom said.
"The Panthers are a very physical side. They run very strong and we're going to have to take it to them up the middle."