Raiders' punishment by trivia
It was in the middle of Canberra's pre-season – a scorching, dry pre-season at that – when Raiders legend and coach Ricky Stuart decided to lay down the law in a different way.
That way was through trivia – trivia of the club's history, past players and club records – as players participated in a training day with the Australian Federal Police.
Simply put, if they got a question wrong they were punished.
The main focus for Stuart was for the current Raiders crop to understand where the club has been, where it is now and where it's going, as he described to Raiders TV last November.
"The history of the club is something we've been pushing very hard here. Everybody needs to know more about the history of the club they're representing and about the people who have been here before us," Stuart said.
"We've got a job to do for the Canberra Raiders, for our ex-players, for our sponsors and of course our members and fans. We need every player to understand the importance in who they are representing. It was interesting to see players having to know the history of the club, history about individuals and results that have occurred here beforehand.
"The players value that because they see that it's not just about us, this is about a club operation and something we have to be very proud of and if you're not proud to be here then there's no point being here."
In typical NRL.com style, we thought it would worth checking how well Stuart's trivia initiative actually worked.
So off we trotted to the nation's capital to put three Raiders in the hot seat – new recruit Blake Austin, young gun Jeremy Hawkins and local boy Sam Williams – to see how they fared.
This is how it played out.
1. Who has played the most first-grade games for the Raiders?
Austin: Laurie Daley
Hawkins: Jason Croker
Williams: Jason Croker
Answer: Jason Croker (318)
2. Which player scored the most points in a season for the Raiders, and, for an extra point, in what season?
Austin: Clinton Schifcofske in 2006
Hawkins: Mal Meninga in the '90s
Williams: Clinton Schifcofske in 2006
Answer: Clinton Schifcofske (245 points in 2001)
3. The Raiders have won three premierships. Which seasons were they won in?
Austin: 1989, 1990 and 1994
Hawkins: 1989, 1994 and 1991
Williams: 1989, 1990, 1994
Answer: 1989, 1990 and 1994
4. Which player scored the most points in a game for the Raiders, and for an extra point how many points was it?
Austin: I'm going to say Clinton again with 36 points.
Hawkins: Mal Meninga with 38 points
Williams: Was it Furner or Campese? NO! It was Mal Meninga and I'll say he scored 36 points.
Answer: Mal Meninga and 38 points
5. The most tries scored by an individual Raider in a season is 22. Three players have achieved it – name them.
Austin: Ken Nagas, Jason Croker and Noa Nadruku
Hawkins: Ken Nagas, Noa Nadruku and Mal Meninga
Williams: Ken Nagas, Noa Nadruku and Mal Meninga
Answer: Noa Nadruku, Brett Mullins and Jason Croker
6. While at the Raiders, seven players played for the Kiwis – name three of them.
Austin: Ruben Wiki, John Lomax and Tyran Smith
Hawkins: Bronson Harrison, Ruben Wiki, John Lomax and Quentin Pongia – do I get a bonus point for naming four?
Williams: Bronson Harrison, Ruben Wiki and Quentin Pongia
Answers: Bronson Harrison, Sean Hoppe, John Lomax, Quentin Pongia, Brent Todd, Lesley Vainikolo and Ruben Wiki.
7. One man has won Raiders' Player of the Year five times – who is that man?
Austin: Laurie Daley
Hawkins: Mal Meninga
Williams: Laurie Daley
Answer: Laurie Daley
Results: Austin 9/15, Hawkins 9/15, Williams 11/15
Not bad really. But with a few answers missed out on, it would certainly mean one or two punishments handed down by the ruthless Stuart.
Regardless, the Raiders trio sees the benefits in knowing where the club has been before them.
"I think it's important to respect the past players and the people who have worn the jersey before you," returning halfback Williams told NRL.com.
"We're very lucky to have a very rich history here and we look back on the golden years at the Raiders in the early '90s and late '80s and it's something that we want to try and get back too.
"I guess when you understand the players that played before us and what they did and who they were then it's a big advantage when we're trying to replicate that. They set the foundation for us current crop of Raiders.
"I love the place. The club means a lot to the locals and being from Cooma it's fairly close so I spend a lot of time watching and idolising the Raiders growing up. If I had the choice to be successful anywhere it would be somewhere where you've come through and I'm very lucky to be back here."
New recruit Austin saw his Raiders knowledge as essential and another stepping stone towards becoming comfortable in his new surroundings.
"You have to know where they have come from to keep going forward so it definitely makes you appreciate the club more," Austin told NRL.com.
"I wasn't a Raiders fan by any means growing up but back in the late '80s and early '90s they were a team to be reckoned with. Sticky is keen to get back to those eras of football and he just wants us loving our club."
Unlike his two teammates, Hawkins instead went straight to the point, showcasing that he is definitely in for a long and successful career.
"If it makes the coach happy, it makes everyone happy," he said.
Well played, Jeremy.