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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 10 Hansard (15 September) . .

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Mal Meninga gala

MR COE (Ginninderra) (4.33): I rise to talk about the Canberra Raiders, who held their annual Mal Meninga gala evening last week. The Canberra Raiders finished their season two Sundays back with a 28-24 golden point win over the Parramatta Eels. It capped off an exciting but frustrating season for the Raiders, who finished 10th on the ladder and unfortunately missed the finals. However, there are promising signs for the Raiders, and I am confident we will see the Raiders playing in the finals next season.

Away from the senior side, the Canberra Raiders under 20s side finished their season on Sunday after a narrow 24-22 loss in an elimination final against West Tigers. I congratulate them on making the finals series and hope the side can go further into the finals series next year.

On a more positive note, the Raiders feeder team, the Mounties, who compete in the New South Wales Cup, took out the minor premiership. After a win in the first round of the finals series, the Mounties will this weekend play the Newcastle Knights for the right to play in the New South Wales Cup final. I wish them the best of luck this weekend.

At the end of every season the Canberra Raiders host their annual Mal Meninga gala evening. This evening provides the opportunity to recognise individual achievements during the year and reflect on the club's accomplishments throughout the season. I wish to congratulate Iosia Soliola on winning the Mal Meninga Medal this year. The Mal Meninga Medal is awarded to the Raiders "players' player" of the season, and is awarded on the basis of a 3-2-1 vote cast by each player after every game. Soliola finished ahead of Jake Wighton, with hooker Josh Hodgson third and Blake Austin and Shaun Fensom finishing in a tie for fourth.

I congratulate all those who won awards on the night. They include: Jack Wighton, NRL coaches award; Luke Bateman, NRL rookie of the year; Steve Babic, Fred Daly clubman of the year; Tevita Pangai Junior, national youth competition player of the year; Thomas Cronan, national youth competition coaches award; Tre Williams, Gordon McLucas junior representative player of the year; and Lachlan Lewis, Geoff Caldwell welfare and education officer award.

Raiders captain, Jarrod Croker, finished the regular season as the NRL's highest point scorer, with 236 points for the season, and I congratulate him on this achievement. Also deserving of congratulations is rising star Mitch Barnett, who was recently named as the New South Wales Cup player of the year after a strong season with the Mounties. I also note that Huawei have committed to another season of being the major sponsor for the Raiders, and I understand that DHA and Canberra Milk are also soon to be making announcements in support of sponsorship going into the future. I thank all the other sponsors that loyally support the Canberra Raiders.

I again congratulate all the recipients of awards from the Mal Meninga gala evening. I wish the Canberra Raiders all the best for next season, and I encourage all members to attend matches next year. Further details about the Canberra Raiders can be found at their website at raiders.com.au.


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