Dane Eldridge – Rebel Raiders: Victims Of A Poisonous Culture

After another episode of num-nutted naughtiness, the flavour of empathy tastes of nothing but lime splice. The majority of the rugby league community feel really sorry for the Canberra Raiders footy club.

After a period of being disrespectfully whipped by a couple of Gen Y bad eggs, the public has flooded forums and airwaves with half-arsed compassion for the club and their frustrated diehards.

“Poor Canberra. Sacking rebellious players who go and perform elsewhere. Showing them patience and they make a beeline for Northies. Totally unfair. Sad emoticon.”

Yep, despair for their battler brand is trending after being rag-dolled by the self-absorbed recklessness of youth and their love of a binge quaff, but what about flipping the issue and seeing it through the rooftop beer goggles of the rabble-rousers?

Hasn’t anybody considered that these young fellows could simply be the unwilling products of an evil working environment? That their developmental years have been polluted by the mismanagement of their paymasters?

Wake up, citizens of footy. This string of boneheaded incidents coming out of the ACT is the hideous side effects of being incarcerated inside one of rugby league’s most poisonous environments.

The Canberra Raiders footy program is clearly a hothouse of chaos that produces bad weeds by the tonne, and the operation is driven wholly and solely by the miscreants of a lackadaisical administration.

In their messy management style, the players are simply pawns. Marionettes. Victims.

Those on-field have been made to foot the blame for clownish governance for so long, but if you scratch deeper than the surface, and you will see that all of the vile back page headlines can be attributed to a sloppy front office.

Firstly, Todd Carney. A cannon where the chieftains were the flame to the wick.

Which overpaid suit forgot to brief him on the social rules of personal relief, most notably that a human being can’t double as a trough? Who forgot to stop him setting his mate’s arse on fire? Was he not sufficiently educated on the offensive smell of burning hair? Who didn’t teach him how to read a speed limit sign?

Then innocent lower-grader Steve Irwin was left high and dry by flimsy disciplinary guidelines.

Why was he not warned about the perils of Carney’s loose company? Should he not have been chaperoned at the very least?

Josh Dugan was a Raider legend in the making, until some administrative simpleton made the rookie error of forgetting to collect him for a rehab session.

Where was the initiative to offer the compromise of bringing the team to his rooftop for a good stretch of the calves?

Then the ball was dropped when it was time to control his opinion. Who didn’t have the foresight to make him aware that social media reaches an audience wider than his personal circle? Did someone tell him that cuss words are frowned upon? And who didn’t stop him hitting ‘send’ on his blue Instagram rant?

Then Blake Ferguson, who was left totally stranded by his superiors.

What irresponsible executive stood by and allowed him to stumble the mean streets of Cronulla while necking bubbly straight from the container? Who considers it good business acumen to allow him to play the role of a 1985 disco greaseball?

And where was the guiding hand of the bossdogs when he was subsequently taken under the wing of Anthony Mundine?

All of these career-staining situations of embarrassment occurred thanks to gross incompetence by the club hierarchy.

Throughout all the duration of this circus, they have stood to the side, recklessly idle while young footballers made minor life decisions on their own, totally at the mercy of their own decision-making processes.

It’s a disgrace.

Forget about plonking Ferguson in front on the NRL Integrity Unit. It’s time for the Furner axis and their band of lobotomised boardroom parrots to take their medicine, face the music and take it on the chin. Their careless approach to running a football club and the total disdain for the welfare of their employees deserves a triple hit of idioms inside one sentence.

They are the common thread amongst the vile series of misdemeanours that come from Raider Land.

Forget the brand; it’s time to spare a shoulder for the poor players at Canberra who operate under the duress of this madness.

They don’t know what they’re doing, and it’s not their fault.

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