Today is a sad day in Canberra Raiders history, to go on with the abysmal season that has been 2011, Alan Tongue has announced this year will be his last. He will go down a one club man, and one of, if not the most passionate player to wear the lime green.
Since his debut in 2000, the Raiders have not enjoyed the success of the early 90s, but there have been some good years and some bad years. Tonguey has been there through the thick and thin. Between 2006-2008 was probably his peak time, his huge tackle rates and support play and mainly, passion would sometimes singlehandedly get the Green Machine home.
Last year Tongue was injured for most of the year, but managed to notch up his 200th appearance for the club, to huge applause. In the final against the Tigers, especially with Campo busting his leg, Tongue scored a decisive try to keep the Raiders in the fight.
So many times he has played with a variety of injuries and played through the pain, he has been an inspirational leader and lead with his actions, but this year I think you could see the toll of all these tackles coming against him. Being overseas I will not get to see the last game at home. Unfortunately my last viewing was the shutout received by Melbourne.
I hope the Raiders will use Tongue in some manner of the field in the next seasons, he will be a great role model for the younger players. Alan Tongue is a different mould to most players. You quite simply won't see the same "bleeding green" of players like Tongue and Josh Miller in the next years at the Green Machine.