Wodonga Raiders Football Club
|Full name||Wodonga Raiders Football Club|
|Ground||Birallee Park, Wodonga|
|League||Ovens & Murray Football League|
The Wodonga Raiders Football Club, are an Australian rules football club which compete in the Ovens & Murray Football League. The origins of the club dates back to the Kergunyah Football Club. Kergunyah played in the Tallangatta & District Football League and this club once played in the Yackandandah DFA.
It joined the Tallangatta & District Football League in 1953 playing it home games at Kergunyah, Victoria. After 1975 season the club relocated to Wodonga. It wound down the club but then the same people then founded what became the Wodonga Demon's Football and Sports Club in 1976. Games were played at Martin Park, Wodonga. Having to pay 50% of their revenue to the Wodonga Bulldogs was a sore point for the club so when an opportunity to move was available the club took it.
The Rural City of Wodonga Council developed sporting facilities at West Wodonga and the "Demon's" moved to Biralee Park.
During the mid-1980s the Club made a series of applications to join the Ovens and Murray Football League. In 1988 the club was accepted into the League after defeating the Mitta United Football Club in the 1987 Tallangatta and District Football League grand final.
Raiders Life members
Helen Wink (Deceased)
Raiders all star side
FB; 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,
FF; Gavin Chesser, Shayne Dryden, Simon Bone,
Foll; Scott Meyer, Craig Smith, Mark Doolan
INT; Dustin Burns, Nic Conway, John House
Emerg; Dean Heta,Trent Storey, Vin Glass, Heath Mooney
Coach; Darren Harris
Wodonga Raiders coaches
1989-1992- Mark Turner
1993- Simon Meehan
1994-1995- Peter Copley
1996- Jim Silvestro
1997-1999- Darren Harris (Premiership 1998)
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- Darren Creswell
The Raiders won their first and only O&M premiership in 1998 when they defeated the Lavington Panthers Football Club at the Lavington Sports Ground.
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 spear head and 2013 Doug Strang Medallist Adam Prior.