Wodonga Raiders Football Club
|Full name||Wodonga Raiders Sports Club|
Heritage: The Demons
|Founded||1923 as Kergunyah FC (predecessor) |
1976 as Wodonga Demons FC
|Colours||Navy & Red|
Heritage: Red & White
|Competition||Tallangatta & District Football League: 1976-1988|
Ovens & Murray Football League: 1988-Present
|Ground(s)||Birallee Park, |
West Wodonga, Wodonga, Victoria
|Official website||Official Club Website|
The Wodonga Raiders Football Club,is an Australian rules football club based in the city of Wodonga which competes in the Ovens & Murray Football League. The origins of the club dates back to the Kergunyah Football Club.
The "Kergunyah Football Club" was established in 1923, based in the small township of Kergunyah, Victoria is choose "Red and White colours" for its playing jumpers. Over the next few decades they spent time in the "Allans Flat District Football Association", the "Yackandandah Football Association", and the "Dederang And District Football Association". During this time they competed in two Grand Finals, the 1928 YFA-B Grade Grand Final where they were defeated by Yackandandah at Sandy Creek, and the 1937 DDFA Grand Final where they were defeated by Kiewa (10.5.65 - 11.9.75).
Before the 1940 season Kergunyah went into recess due to a lack of number because of the ongoing War, they continued to be in a state of recess until the 1944 post season. The club was re-activated during the 1945 pre-season, they continued to be based in the small township of Kergunyah, Victoria and chose to "Red and White colours" for its playing jumpers. They re-joined the "Yackandandah Football League" (formally known by "Yackandandah Football Association") for the 1945 season. They competed in the league until 1952 when they decide to leave "Yackandandah Football League" in favor of joining the neighbouring "Tallangatta And District Football League", and within just three short year the "Yackandandah Football League" had folded due to lack of clubs. The club was an early powerhouse in its new league, becoming the first club to achieve a three-peat of premierships (1955-1956-1957), a record only equaled by Mitta United (1959-1960-1961). However by the early 1970's the club was in trouble, starved for on field success combined with not having very good facilities and with most players & club people residing in the Wodonga area. The tough decision was made following the 1975 season to disband the "Kergunyah Football Club".
Kergunyah's three-peat record for most consecutive senior TDFL flags stood for 50-years before being beaten by Mitta United when they achieved the impressive feat of winning four consecutive senior TDFL flags (2004-2005-2006-2007).
|YFA||B-Grade: Seniors Runner-Up||1||1928|
|TDFL||Seniors Premierships||3||1955, 1956, 1957|
Following the 1975 decision to disband the "Kergunyah Football Club", a group of former important club people gathered at the Wodonga's Blazing Stump Hotel and decided to create the new club, they would be based at Wodonga's Martin Park and continue to wear Kergunyah's "Red and White colours" for its playing jumpers. In early 1976 the "Wodonga Demons Football and Sports Club" was established, They joined the "Tallangatta And District Football League" for the 1976 season, filling the void left by "Kergunyah Football Club".
In 1978 the club moved to Martin Park's number two oval (Now known as the Les Cheesley Oval), while here the ground was expanded to full size. Afer a request to Wodonga Council in 1980, some vacant land was located for a new home ground, and the facility at Birallee Park was completed by the end of the 1983 season.
On field the club was strong in its early years, contesting many final series. During the 80's the club contested three senior "Tallangatta & District Football League Grand Finals", the 1980 TDFL Grand Final where they were defeated by Tallangatta Valley (20.10.130 - 13.11.89), the 1985 TDFL Grand Final where they were defeated by 1985 Holbrook (22.17.149 - 13.6.84), and the 1987 TDFL Grand Final where they defeated Mitta United (15.13.103 - 14.13.97).
The club left the Tallangatta & District Football League after the 1988 season, and spent the following post-season preparing to join the Ovens and Murray Football League for the 1989 Season.
Following the 1988 decision to allow the "Wodonga Demons" permission to join the "Ovens and Murray Football League", the "Wodonga Demons Football and Sports Club" went about re-establishing their new identity. They had to change both their name and colours so as to not cause confusion with the Benalla Demons (also wore "Red and White colours" for its playing jumpers) and the long established Wodonga Football Club (previously the sole Wodonga-based club between 1952-1975). The club settled upon the name of the "Wodonga Raiders", officially the "Wodonga Raiders Sports Club", and chose to wear "Red and Navy colours" for its playing jumpers.
On field success was very hard to come by during the first three seasons, which resulted in the club being "Awarded" the wooden spoon in 1989 and again 1990. By 1993 the club had improved enough that they almost made the final five. The 1995 season marked the first time the Raiders advanced to the preliminary final where they lost to Albury by 23 points. The club was seeming to come of age as they finishing fifth and making finals again in 1996. During the 1996 post season the club pulled off a major coup when they secured Darren Harris as Senior coach from 1997. The club made their first O&M Grand Final in 1997 against Albury, where they lost by 7 points. The following season the club made their second O&M Grand Final in as many years. This time they faced Lavington whom they went on to beat by 64 points, claiming its first Premiership in its tenth year in the competition. To date the club is yet to return to the Grand Final.
In 2012 the Raiders went hard in the off season to try to keep up with the top sides in the Ovens and Murray, they got the services of former VFL stars Patrick Rose, David Stretton, Eddie Prato and Ben Davies these 4 players were massive gets for the Wodonga side with Davies taking out the Best and Fairest and Rose Kicking 101 goals and winning the Doug Strang medal. The Highlight of the year came when the Raiders upset premiership favourite Albury Tigers in round 7 by 5 points with Rose and Prato playing starring roles in the win. Unfortunately for the Raiders all 4 of them left the side at the end of the season along with a number of other players as well as long time Melbourne traveler and Vic Country ruckman Scott Meyer. The club also lost the services of senior coach Corey Lambert at the end of the season and when he left so did the players, not including the Melbourne players a total of 14 local players left the club 9 of those players being regular seniors players and the other in and out of the side during the season.
The Raiders although not having a great season as a club had some great individual performances:
- Patrick Rose: Doug Strang Medal
- Scott Meyer: Victoria Country Representative
- Nathan Lefoe;: O&M Reserves best and fairest
- Ben Murphy: O&M Thirds best and fairest and the Border mail thirds player of the year
In 2013 the club hired Jindra coach Ken Stevenson as the senior coach to help rebuild the young side after the horror off-season that saw a number of players leave the club. The Raiders topped off their young list with Montmorency Magpies players Dean Limbach, Dean Giles, David Attard and Michael Steven. In the early parts of the season the Wodonga Raiders struggled, and Stevenson had no choice but to blood the youth, with 17-year-olds Bradley St John, Liam Hickey and Jack Donaghey all playing senior games in early 2013.
The raiders were always going to have a tough time of it in 2013 with the players they lost in the off-season, but nobody thought it would get quite this bad, with the lowest points in the season coming in round 8 and 9, when the side went down to fellow cellar-dweller Corowa-Rutherglen, and then the following week they were on the end of a 120-plus-point loss to North Albury on their home soil, with Todd Bryant and Ben Murphy really the only ones putting in the effort against North Albury. The day got even worse when Captain and 5-time best and fairest winner Mark Doolan was ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL just days after the thrashing.
Doolan also told the club weeks later that he was leaving at season's end to go to Tallangatta and District League side Chiltern to pursue a coaching role in the next 2 years. Doolan will go down as one of the Raiders best players of all time.
The Raiders made some radical steps to the future, signing Yackandanah star forward Trent Castles and Queanbeyan players Ben Klemke and Steven Jollifee as players for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. After these signings the Raiders somewhat got on a roll, upsetting Wodonga Bulldogs and Wangarrata Magpies before getting hidings from two of the top sides in the league in Albury and Lavington.
The Raiders' best performances of the year were also their last. After losing to Corowa in round 17 and having no chance to get off the bottom of the ladder in round 18, the Raiders had nothing to lose, and they played that way against North Albury, with superstar forward Dean Limbach bagging 8 goals in the 20-point loss. The Raiders looked like they were going to win all day up until the last 5 minutes of the game, with Danny Atwell and Todd Bryant putting in great performances to almost get the side over the line.
Limbach finished second in the league goal kicking in the bottom of the ladder side, with a total of 68 goals. To prove just how good he is, Limbach kicked 17 goals in the final 2 rounds of the year to finish 3 goals behind North Albury spearhead and 2013 Doug Strang Medallist Adam Prior.
Raiders Club honours
Ovens And Murray Hall of Fame - Raider Inductees
Senior coaches: 1976-present
Wodonga Demons: 1976-1988 
- 1976: Keith Flower
- 1977-1978: Garry Knight
- 1979: Peter McGrath
- 1980-1981: Kevin Richardson
- 1982: Bob Craig
- 1983-1984: Mick Cummins
- 1985: Tom Doolan
- 1986: Jim Jewell / Jack Clancy
- 1987-1988: Bert Hollands
Wodonga Raiders: 1989–present 
- 1989-1992: Mark Turner
- 1993: Simon Meehan
- 1994-1995: Peter Copley
- 1996: Jim Silvestro
- 1997-1999: Darren Harris
- 2000-2002: Simon Bone
- 2003-2004: Christin Macri
- 2005: Dean Lupson
- 2006: Adrian Whitehead
- 2007-2008: Paul Twycross & Brendan Way
- 2009-2012: Corey Lambert
- 2013-2014: Ken Stevenson
- 2015-2017: Darren Creswell
- John Wink
- Ken Gallagher
- M. Schlink
- L. Anderson
- W. Mooney
- J. Casey
- N. Jarvis
- R. Barrette
- Ross Hedley
- F. Richardson
- B. Collins
- M. Ley
- Helen Wink (dec.)
- Tim Mooney
- F. Goonan
- G. James
- C. Robinson (dec.)
- Nic Conway
- T. Rixon
- J. Owens
- Simon Bone
- Stephen Clarke
- J. Robinson
- M. Brown
- Paul Twycross
- John Howes
- Paul Knight
- Graeme Lester
- R. Fleming (dec.)
- Brendan Way
- Les Lee
- A. Bergin
- Rod Mayne
- Mick Wernert
- Shane Packer
- J. Hunter
- G. Perrett
(dec.) denotes deceased.
Raiders all star side
|Raiders All-Star Side|
|B:||Anthony McIvor||Paul Knight||Joe Lonergan|
|HB:||Bernard Toohey||Mark Turner||Geoff Valentine|
|C:||Brendan Way||Todd Bryant||Jason Lappin|
|HF:||Darren Harris||Stephen Clarke||Ross Hedley|
|F:||Gavin Chesser||Shayne Dryden||Simon Bone|
|Foll:||Scott Meyer||Craig Smith||Mark Doolan|
|Int:||Dustin Burns||Nic Conway||John House|
|Dean Heta (Emerg.)||Trent Storey (Emerg.)||Vin Glass (Emerg.)|
Heath Mooney (Emerg.)
|Reserves Premierships||6||1991, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003|
|Reserve Runners-Up||4||1995, 1996, 2000, 2004|
|Under 18's Premierships||3||1989, 1994, 2010|
|Under 18's Runners-Up||3||1991, 1997, 2009|
|C-Grade Runners-Up||3||2000, 2005|
- The Demons won their first and only senior T&D premiership in 1987 when they defeated the Mitta United Football Club at the Sandy Creek Oval. (15.13.103 - 14.13.97)
- The Raiders won their first and only senior O&M premiership in 1998 when they defeated the Lavington Football Club at the Lavington Sports Ground. (19.12.126 - 8.14.62)
- Wodonga Raiders Heritage Jumper, Facebook. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- Ovens And Murray Clubs, Ovens And Murray Football Netball League. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- Stephen Clarke, Ovens & Murray Hall Of Fame. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- Simon Bone, Ovens & Murray Hall Of Fame. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- Wodonga Demons Coaches, Wodonga Raiders. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- Wodonga Raiders Coaches, Wodonga Raiders. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
- Wodonga Raiders Honour Board, Wodonga Raiders. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
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