The Canberra Raiders have called on club legend and former captain Alan Tongue to help develop the next generation of Green Machine leaders.
The Farrer alumnus and Tamworth product, who played 220 NRL games for the Raiders - 96 of them as captain - and won the Mal Meninga Medal as the best-and-fairest player in 2006, has been appointed to head the club's leadership program alongside Olympic gold medallist Louise Dobson.
He's Canberra's new leadership manager, while Dobson's the leadership facilitator.
They replace Chris Horsley, who spent the past six years looking after the Green Machine's leadership and culture.
The pair have already thrown themselves into their roles, with Tongue saying Dobson's attended more training sessions than the players.
He's come in with the motto of "slow to speak, quick to listen" as both he and Dobson look to empower the players to create the culture and leadership they want.
Tongue was excited to be back in the club's inner sanctum, having been working in the community in recent years.
He felt their roles would not only be to work with the playing group, but also in the Raiders' front office - while also helping the players give back to the community, given they were a community and family club.
"I probably take the same mindset when I do a lot of the community work as well - I'm not the one who needs to come in with all the answers," Tongue said.
"It's more about having the right questions to empower the players to come up with the answers.
"I think that's a big part of what I need to bring to the group.
"We all have a bit of an idea, a mindset, about what we'd like that culture to be, but at the end of the day it's the players' culture.
"And we've just got to make sure we create the right system and framework for them to build that and to be able to live that out and be accountable to it."
Raiders captain Elliott Whitehead has said he's going to retire at the end of the 2024 NRL season, while it could also be Jordan Rapana's last campaign in lime green.
It's why Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has brought in Tongue and Dobson to help fast track the leadership development amongst the young group.
"My priority is assisting in challenging our players in going to another level of our values and standards as a Raider.
"We have a young squad who are in the early stages of their NRL careers. We need to bring forward/fast track their potential.
"We have an enormous opportunity and a heap of hard work ahead of us, a challenge we are looking forward to."
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