Raiders deserve more games on FTA: Furner

Canberra boss Don Furner claims the Raiders would be one of the NRL’s highest-rating teams if more of their games were shown on free-to-air television.

The club’s upset 30-22 victory over defending premiers South Sydney on Sunday was their first match of 2015 to be broadcast on Channel Nine, with all others only seen on pay TV.

Chief executive Furner said it was a major bugbear of his, the Raiders and their fans.

“I know the players really get up for it,” he told the club’s website on Thursday.

“At other clubs, it’s just business as usual – they get it every week, so it’s no big thing for them.”

Furner said it was disappointing that Channel Nine didn’t count ratings via WIN Television across regional Australia and were only focused on numbers in Brisbane and Sydney.

“So if you added all those in, we would be one of the highest-rating teams,” he said.

“We put on a great performance, we play attractive football, we’re good to watch, we’ve got a great following in Queensland.

“I just hope we can get on more – and not just towards the end of the year when the semis are on – because our players deserve it.”

Furner reiterated his call for financial assistance from the NRL to help retain big name players who’ve come through junior development ranks.

Ten Raiders are involved in this weekend’s representative round, and while Furner said it was pleasing for them, it had broader implications for the club.

“It’s a great feather in our cap, but it doesn’t necessarily help us retain them when it really matters,” he added.

“When they start to make rep football, they obviously come to the attention of other clubs, they get higher offers and it’s very hard to retain them.

“So that’s why we will always lobby and jump up and down about giving us some sort of incentive – financial or salary cap wise – to be able to keep the players that we develop.

“That’s exactly what happened in our good old days – we kept them together and they stayed together eight or nine years. Otherwise we couldn’t have done it.

“It’s very very hard to do nowadays, but if you keep them together for three or four years then at least you’ve got a shot at the title.”

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