• Will Cashmore

The Set Of Six – Mediocre NRL Players: Canberra Raiders

Compared to most other teams, it was hard to know where to begin with the Canberra Raiders. Not as many high quality Mediocre NRL Players rolled off the tongue as quickly.

I suppose that could be yet another advantage of being stationed away from the bright lights of Sydney, down in their little National Capital of secluded paradise.

Nevertheless, the Viking Clapping Raiders have produced some worthy men of mediocrity over the past 10 years, and I can’t wait to share them with you.

Did You Know: The Viking Clap debuted in Round 24 of the 2016 NRL Season? Canberra hosted Parramatta on the day, and defensive turnstile Brenko Lee scored 4 for the Green Machine in their victory.

Clay Priest (2016-2017) 31 Games

For two short years, Clay Priest was a no-nonsense prop in the Canberra Raiders’ front row rotation. He was a useful cog in the machine, until he wasn’t, but every time he pulled on the jersey he did the job required of him.

However, that was the problem. He was just there. There was no flash or pizazz about his game. I mean, he did not even score a try in his entire 31 games. That says it all.

Priest had been around the block for a while too before making his long awaited debut. After 26 years of praying every night for a crack in the big time, Ricky Stuart handed him his first game.

It’s a wonder Sticky even knew who Priest was, seeing as Clay didn’t even have his own player profile on the club website until after he was named to debut.

That’s the stuff of Mediocre NRL Player: Legend Status.

Glen Buttriss (2008-2015) – 119 Games, 7 Tries

It’s no wonder that Canberra’s fortunes quickly turned around for the better, ever since the arrival of English dynamo Josh Hodgson. Conveniently enough, Hodgson’s emergence was the final nail in the coffin for the career of Glen Buttriss.

The Brit was a breath of fresh air, since Canberra fans had become depressingly used to dull rakes.

He was the ultimate professional, but alike many run of the mill number 9s, Buttriss struggled to keep relevant in an era where the dummy-half was becoming the most important player on the field.

He had no show, therefore he had no go.

Only 7 tries and 119 first-grade games, is nothing to write home about for the rake and whilst he was a fantastic role model for young players coming through, Buttriss was never going to win a title.

Have I been too mean here?

Sam Williams (2011-2013, 2015-2016, 2018-) – 90 Games, 15 Tries, 25 Goals, 4 Field Goals

Is there anyone who bleeds green more than Sam Williams?

Whilst not a go to name when it comes to the great Raiders players of all-time, Sam Williams may just be the most passionate and committed Canberra man in history.

Why? Well because no matter how abroad he floats, Williams just always finds a way to return to the Australian Capital, having three stints at the club to date.

Williams made his club debut in Round 1 of 2011, filling in for the injured Matt Orford (LOL!!!), and won Man of the Match. Since then, Williams has been in and out of the side, and quite literally at that.

He played for two sorts of dragons in 2014, both the St George Illawarra and Catalans variety, and joined Wakefield Trinity in the English Super League in 2017.

Fresh in the mind too, since he played his first game for 2020 this past weekend, and with him running the side it’s no surprise the Green Machine beat the finals bound Sharks.

Drury Low (2010) – 2 Games

Find me a Canberra fan who remembers this bloke, and I’ll find you a liar.

In our previous list, we outed Marcelo Montoya as having the coolest name in the NRL. It’s safe to say, that had Drury Low played NRL today, he would suffer a quick first round exit in a coolest name tournament.

Coming off a sensational 2009 Toyota Cup campaign – Anyone remember the Toyota Cup? Those were the days – where he was named on the wing in the Team of the Year, Drury Low was expected to launch into a successful NRL Career.

Unfortunately for the Cook Islands representative, it wasn’t to be, and it had Drury feeling low.

Never fear, Drury rose from the low ashes (ok that’s the last Low-low pun) in 2013 with the Bulldogs, but could only manage a further 9 games in two seasons at Canterbury.


Ata Hingano (2018) – 9 Games

At NRL level, Ata Hingano never really made any noise. Starting out with the NZ Warriors, he was a promising halfback coming through the grades, and there was a lot of potential for him to achieve big things. Injuries dictated that this was not going to happen.

However, Ata did gain plenty of plaudits at the International level. Hingano has to date played 8 Test matches for Tonga, notably featuring in the Mate Ma'a first ever game against the Kangaroos in 2018.

The halves position has continued to be Tonga’s weakest during their International revolution, and eventually Hingano was replaced by Kotoni Staggs at halfback.

Yet still, have YOU ever played for your country.

No, I didn’t think so.

So don’t bag Ata out for being replaced as halfback of Tonga by a centre, for a game where Tonga defeated Australia.

Where’s the punchline? I don’t even know anymore.

Michael Oldfield (2017-) 24 Games, 12 Tries

Do we have a Doozy for you to finish.

Let’s just take an in depth look at Michael Oldfield’s NRL Career in terms of Games Played Per Year:

Manly 2010 – 3 games Manly 2011 – 12 games Manly 2012 – 9 games Sydney Roosters 2013 – 1 game Rabbitohs 2016 – 4 games Penrith 2017 – 1 game Canberra 2017 – 1 game Canberra 2018 – 8 games Canberra 2019 – 9 games Canberra 2020 – 6 games

So Michael Oldfield has played an average of 6 games in 9 seasons in the NRL, across 5 different teams. That is truly unbelievable stuff.

I bet his Tinder bio is: If you ever need a winger, just call 1800-Oldfield.

Come to think of it, that’s probably better than my Tinder bio.

Did we miss anyone out?

Who would be in your Mediocre Raiders Set of Six?

Tune in next time, Sharkies fans it’s your turn.



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