It’s the story of how the Raiders got so big, and what they’re going to do next.
It’s a story that has been told in the pages of Sports Illustrated, in the words of the late Jack Warner, a former AFL player who was a scout for the Raiders.
As a boy in Sydney, Warner would go to the footy games.
He loved the way the players ran.
Warner remembers his dad telling him about the game, and how a couple of years later, his dad took him to the ground and showed him how the game was played.
It was a great experience for Warner and he never looked back.
He went on to become a scout and eventually became the head of recruitment for the Australian Football League’s Sydney club.
When Warner left the Raiders in 2000, he knew he wanted to be a scout again.
That meant he wanted his kids to have the opportunity to play the game he loved.
“The AFL was the perfect place for me to get back into,” Warner says.
“I felt like I was back at school again.
It was a big step forward for me.
I was always trying to work out how I could get back to school.”
I was at school and there were all these things I could do.
I thought, ‘I want to get into coaching’.
I was in a very good environment and I felt like if I got a bit older and got to coaching it would help me become a better coach.
“It was always my dream to be at the top, and I always had that in mind.
I never thought I would be a head coach.
My father was a football scout and I knew I could still be good at it.”
When Warner joined the Raiders, he was a very different coach to what he’d seen at Sydney.
He had an older, more experienced staff and a lot more depth at the club.
He had also brought in the NRL’s longest-serving coach, Steve Walsh, who had been with the club since its inception.
Warner was also the son of a prominent figure in the AFL, which meant his family’s involvement was more direct.
“My dad was always a big supporter of the club,” Warner said.
“He was always involved and always in the dressing room.
He’d go to our games, and we’d go for a lunchtime drive around the city.
I think it helped him with the family side.”
As a kid, I never got to see what the boys were going through.
My dad knew what I wanted to do with my life, so I’m always really proud of that.
“Even when I was a kid and my dad was at work, he’d go over there and play golf.
I still remember going over to the golf course with him every year and just playing.
I remember going to the Oval and having a go, and thinking, ‘Wow, that’s pretty impressive.'”
It made me realise, if I want to go back to coaching, I need to be involved in the family aspect, and get involved with my parents.
“When I left, I realised I was able to work with a lot of the younger players and get a lot out of them, which I didn’t do before.”
Warner had the opportunity at the Raiders and was able help the young players on the way.
“Steve Walsh has been a huge influence on my life,” Warner added.
“His family, his staff and his coaches have helped me and given me the opportunity.”
Warmer has also brought some of his former players with him, like Aaron Woods and Tom Lonergan.
He was lucky enough to have Woods at the start of his career and he’s helped him develop into a key player for the side.
Lonergan is also a player who helped the Raiders develop and develop into one of the most exciting teams in the competition.
“Aaron has played a big role for the club this year, and he’ll be a key part of our squad for the future,” Warner continued.
“Tom Lonergon is another key player, and a big leader on and off the field for the team.”
Both Aaron and Tom are very special, and will help us in the long term.
“Warney has been lucky enough not only to be in the spotlight at the foot of the ladder, but to have a massive impact on the success of the team as well.”
There’s a lot that I’m proud of as a player and I’m just thankful that I was afforded the opportunity,” Warner concluded.”
To have that opportunity and to get to the position I’m at today, it’s unbelievable.