The Green Machine are taking a walk down Abbey Road.
Their co-captain Josh Hodgson is from the Old Dart, as is Elliott Whitehead, and they’ve been joined by John Bateman and Ryan Sutton this year.
Not happy with just a Fab Four, they’re now going for a Famous Five.
Word on the street is finalising a transfer fee is all that stands in the way of Wigan and England halfback George Williams coming to Canberra next year.
Clyde’s a fan of the Raiders targeting the Poms. They’re the only ones not scared off by a little bit of cold. A bit tougher than those Sydney and Queensland types it seems.
“It’s a good strategy that Ricky and the team are drawing on some English players,” he said.
“They’ve got some enormous talent. A lot to offer the NRL.
“There has been some issues with recruiting players from warmer climates. I don’t know what it is.”
One of those Poms could even be compared with Clyde. About the same height and weight. They even play similar roles.
Clyde started and ended his NRL career in the second row, but made his name at lock.
Bateman came Down Under to be the Raiders’ lock, but finds himself in the second row – where he’s played for England – thanks to Joe Tapine’s case of hitchhikers thumb.
While he hasn’t seen much, Clyde likes what he’s seen.
“He’s certainly got all the skills and time will tell,” Clyde said.
“I haven’t seen enough of him to really provide a comparison to other players. Some of the early form that he’s shown is clearly encouraging to see that he’s going to be a player of the future for the Canberra Raiders.
“To be one of our best every week is something we certainly hope that he’s aspiring to.”
These days Clyde’s a general manager at technology company Chandler. They’re big in digital solutions in the finance sector. If you’re lucky he might even be helping your super.
In his spare time he’s chasing his kids – two girls in their 20s and a teenage son.
He spent a bit of time on the NRL match review committee and anti-doping tribunal during the Cronulla Sharks saga.
No not the salary cap cheating. Before that. The peptides scandal.
He’d like to get back into clubland. Maybe on a board. He’s starting to get a coupla nights a week spare.
Thinking back to ’89. The year that made Canberra’s soul. It’s also left a legacy, born from coach Tim Sheens.
Sheens is now Hull KR coach. But, like Caine, his young grasshoppers have gone on to become mentors of their own.
Australian and Queensland super coach Mal Meninga. Stuart’s in charge of his beloved Green Machine. Kevin Walters is now heading up the Maroons. And Laurie Daley has gotten over his case of the Blues.
“Sheens led a quality team, but he also triggered a lot of rugby league imagination and enthusiasm to go on and coach and be a part of the game for a long time,” Clyde said.
“In testimony to Tim Sheens, there’s so many players that were part of that time that are still coaching teams. Rep teams or club teams, no matter where they are.
“He was outstanding at providing a real variety over his tenure of nine years.”
Meninga’s not just mentoring now though. He was doing it back then. Thirty years ago as the Green Machine charged to the premiership.
Him and Gary Belcher both. Clyde says it was those two who created the culture in which youngsters like him flourished.
What’s his favourite memory of that day? One guess. Yeah Steve Jackson of course. Clyde’s just a Canberra fan too. Born and bred.
“It was the favourite day of my life – alongside the birth of my children for sure,” he said.
“It was the magic carpet ride that I’d been on since I was six years old when I started playing sport.
“And it all comes to a head on grand final day where everything you’ve learnt and all the coaches’ knowledge that you’ve been a part of and all the teammates that you’ve played for, development of skills that you’ve acquired, you’ve got to bring that all on one day, the biggest day of the year.
“And we managed to spring an upset against the Balmain Tigers.”
NRL ROUND THREE
Friday: Canberra Raiders v Newcastle Knights at Canberra Stadium, 6pm. Tickets from Ticketek.
Raiders squad: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Jarrod Croker (C), 4. Joey Leilua, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Jack Wighton, 18. Sam Williams, 8. Josh Papalii, 9. Josh Hodgson (C), 10. Dunamis Lui, 11. John Bateman, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Ryan Sutton. Interchange: 14. Siliva Havili, 15. Hudson Young, 16. Sia Soliola, 17. Corey Horsburgh. Reserves: 19. JJ Collins, 20. Bailey Simonsson.
Knights squad: 14. Kurt Mann, 2. Edrick Lee, 3. Hymel Hunt, 4. Jesse Ramien, 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 6. Kalyn Ponga, 7. Mitchell Pearce (C), 8. David Klemmer, 9. Danny Levi, 10. James Gavet, 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12. Sione Mata’utia, 13. Tim Glasby. Interchange: 15. Aidan Guerra, 16. Mitchell Barnett, 18. Josh King, 20. Jamie Buhrer. Reserves: 17. Herman Ese’ese, 21. Brodie Jones.
David Polkinghorne covers the Canberra Raiders, local rugby league, Canberra Cavalry, racing and cycling, along with every other sport, for The Canberra Times.