As part of the build up to the Round 5 Men of League Heritage Round clash between Wests Tigers and South Sydney at Allianz Stadium on Sunday, April 1, weststigers.com.au will feature a series of yarns from some of the great players from Western Suburbs Magpies and the Rabbitohs as they recall the memories of yesteryear.
In this article, Raudonikis recalls how he came to Sydney in 1969 from Wagga after finishing his apprenticeship in the air force.
“My first game in Sydney was against South Sydney. It was in reserve grade. I only played 2 reserve grade games before making first grade.
“I’ll never forget that day at Redfern Oval. Here was this young spoilt kid that was playing against this great South Sydney side. There was Kevin Longbottom and Ivan Jones and we got beaten 45-0. I said to myself, ‘what am I doing here in Sydney’.
“I then had one more game in reserve grade against Parramatta. Noel Kelly came up to me at training and said he wanted to see me outside.
"So I went outside and he said ‘son, you are in first grade. But I want you to go and get a photo of yourself now because the way you play football, you are not going to look bloody like that no more’.
“That’s how I got into grade. I have no teeth now. They are all false but geez, it was great.”
Raudonikis will be one of more than 200 former Western Suburbs players attending the annual Magpies Re-union at Allianz Stadium on Sunday, April 1.
The Round 5 Heritage clash against South Sydney sees Wests Tigers celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 1952 grand final between the Magpies and South Sydney.
It was the last first grade premiership won by the Magpies. Wests Tigers players will wear the Western Suburbs heritage strip with the winning team receiving the inaugural Men of League Cup.
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28/03/2012 5:04:22 PM