The CFMEU Canberra Raiders have named 2006 player of the year Alan Tongue as their Captain for the 2007 season, with the 122 game veteran becoming just the 10th captain in the Raiders 26 season history.
The 26-year-old Tongue joins an illustrious list that began in 1982 with the inaugural Captain David Grant, and contains Raiders legends, Mal Meninga, Laurie Daley and Ricky Stuart.
Speaking today on his appointment Tongue said it is a great honour to be named the Captain of the Raiders, and said he wouldn't look to change the way he approached his football now that he is Captain."
"Honour is definitely the word that springs to mind when Neil asked me to take on the role," Tongue said. "It's not going to change my role too much, I'll just keep playing footy the way I have been and try and help as much as I can with the young guys around the club and keep doing what I've been doing."
Tongue said he is aware of the extra responsibility that comes with leading the team, but said he would look at gaining support from those closest to him around the club.
"There'll be a bit of pressure involved obviously but I'm looking forward to the challenge," he said. "I'll be looking for a lot of guidance from the other players in the leadership group and across the board, as well as the coaching staff."
Tongue said he will look at his past Captains as a means for inspiration, but at the same time bring his own philosophy to the position.
"Out of the past captains that I've had leading by example has been there best characteristic and something I can hopefully continue on as well," he said. "The Captains I've had with Laurie (Daley), Simon (Woolford) and Clinton (Schifcofske) are big shoes to fill but I am not going to take one day for granted, I made that goal as a player and I will also continue that as a Captain."Raiders Coach Neil Henry said the process to deciding on the skipper for 2007 began early in the pre-season, with a heavy emphasis on player and coaching staff involvement.
"We started out with electing a six man leadership group, and we've had regular meetings with that group to talk about a range of issues within the club, and they're still a valuable part of what we're going to do," Henry said. "They're used as a conduit for information between the playing staff, the Coaching staff and administration, and Alan was elected as a part of that."
Henry said the final decision on the captaincy was made after consultation amongst the Coaching staff, and Tongue had been the standout candidate for the job.
"Our thoughts initially were that Alan would join Troy Thompson and Lincoln Withers as rotating Captains, but we sat down with the coaching staff and went through it and decided it would be better to have one player and we came up with Alan," he said. "He's a worthy choice, he's been with the club for a number of seasons now, he was player of the year last season and he has enormous respect amongst the players and the wider community."
Tongue joined the Raiders at the end of 1998 and has since gone on to become one of the clubs most respected servants, with his on and off field qualities highly regarded in the Canberra community.
In 2006 he was named the Raiders player of the year, and also broke the NRL tackling record for most tackles in a regular season.