Centre of Excellence takes Canberra into new era
The Raiders have unveiled plans for a $19 million Centre of Excellence to be built at their "spiritual home" near the centre of Canberra.
The state of the art facility in Braddon will host the club's senior players, junior representative stars and a potential women's team in the NRL.
Raiders boss Don Furner believes the Centre of Excellence will allow the club to keep up in the "arms race" of attracting not only established NRL stars, but ones of the future as well.
"For us to be able to bring young kids into the region and show them a great facility...it will set us up for the next 15 to 20 years so we can compete with the best,'' he said.
"We need to make sure we show the kids of the region that they don't have to move to Sydney or leave the country areas to get the same opportunities as their big city counterparts.
"We're going to be moving into the Riverina area in a lot bigger way in the next couple of years, with trial games and competition games.
"But we needed them to understand this wasn't just a facility for the Canberra Raiders, it's what we do in the country."
The Raiders at times have struggled to attract big name free agent signings in recent seasons.
After losing Anthony Milford to the Brisbane Broncos, Canberra was set to sign James Tedesco on a three-year deal, only to see it fall apart at the last minute.
However, armed with a high-performance centre which coach Ricky Stuart predicts will be one of the best in the NRL, that is set to change.
"It is going to be something that takes us into our next era, into a new generation," Stuart said.
"I've seen the plans and we've had a lot to do with the design inside and I know it's going to be one of the best high-performance centres in the league.
"From a recruitment point of view from outside the Canberra region area, yes it does (help).
"You bring them into a facility such as this which is fully equipped with high-performance sports science resource and technology, it's the way of the future."
A proud Goulburn junior, Canberra skipper Jarrod Croker said the confirmation of the Centre of Excellence will aid what the club is trying to build on and off the field.
"It definitely will help, I think we've gotten a lot better over the last couple of seasons with the guys who have come here have really enjoyed Canberra,'' he said.
"If players are off-contract or looking to settle their future when we've got a new facility coming, it really helps."