Raptors' record for national titles

Published 10:30am 24 May 2024

Raptors' record for national titles
Words by Nick Crockford

Pictured above: Raptors' women's team which has seven players in the state squad for the national titles. 

Moreton Bay Raptors will have a record number of players at the National Gridiron Championships, which start this weekend.

Twenty-two are preparing to swap Raptors’ silver and black for the maroon and gold of Queensland Sun Devils in matches across the country.

Three of the state selections - Joseph Fairhall, Hunter Harris-Whan and Lennox Samoa - are also in the Australian Outback team taking on the world in Canada.

“This is by far the largest representation of the Moreton Bay Raptors at the representative level,” Ted Soo Choon, president of the Deception Bay-based Raptors, said.

Raptors' under 18s squad which made the Sun Bowl Grand Final.

“We are all aware of the hard work our players have put in this season and are extremely happy to see the effort paying off.

“We wish all our players the very best, regardless of the results, they have made us all very proud.”

Seven Raptors - Lily Skelton, Raegan O'Grady, Rachelle Ware, Ashley King, Tee Brown, Sharlene Samoa, Hilisha Samoa, Brandie Clucas and Leesa Gray – are in the Sun Devils’ women’s squad.

Their first match of the national titles is against New South Wales at the Totally Workwear Stadium, Greenslopes, on June 1. They then travel to Perth to face West Australia on June 22.

Raptors have 15 players in the Sun Devils’ Under 18 team to face Victoria at Wyndham Stadium on Saturday (May 25) and ACT/NSW in Canberra on June 22.

Flying the Moreton Bay flag will be Darius Gee, Preston Harris, Kiteau Kanongataa, Tupou Liku, AJ Maka, Leychyn Newick-Matthews, Djimon Stowers-Elemani, Giovanni Stowers-Elemani, Viliami Taufa, Joham Taungatua, Spencer Tofilau, Darrius Vialau, Joseph Fairhall, Hunter Harris-Whan and Lennox Samoa.

The Australian Outback team, with Fairhall, Harris-Whan and Samoa, will fly to Edmonton, Alberta, for the IFAF World Junior Championships from June 20-30.

It follows an excellent 2023-24 season in Gridiron Queensland South-East Queensland where Raptors' Under 18s had a large contingent of first-year rookies.

Raptors' Raegan O'Grady, the Women's MVP (Rookie)

They reached the Sun Bowl Grand Final but went down to an experienced Gold Coast Stingrays team.

“Although they did not win the "big dance", their growth through the regular season allowed players to be competitive in their representative trials for state and national teams,” President Ted Soo Choon said.

After a two-year break, due to falling player numbers, Raptors' women returned with a number of players new to the sport.

Though not reaching the Sun Bowl, the playing time gave everyone experience and helped seven gain selection at the Queensland trials.

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