Ashley Gilbert inducted into Canberra Raiders Hall of Fame

Crookwell's own NRL legend Ashley Gilbert received a momentous honour recently, when he was inducted into the Canberra Raiders' Hall of Fame. 

Inducted: Ashley Gilbert during his playing days for the Canberra Raiders in 1987. Photo: Supplied.

Inducted: Ashley Gilbert during his playing days for the Canberra Raiders in 1987. Photo: Supplied.

On Friday March 1, the Raiders officially commenced their official Hall of Fame, and Gilbert was one of the first 14 members included. 

Gilbert, who played in the Raiders' inaugural team and took the field 135 times for them between 1982 and 1990, said that it was "terribly humbling". 

"There was a wide array of internationals, a New Zealand international … and even one immortal. So I was a little bit embarrassed even to be in that company, but I was very proud."

Playing as a lock and second-rower, Gilbert was essential in the Raiders' early days in establishing the team's defence, and scored 41 tries for a total of 163 points to boot. 

Following his retirement and move back to Crookwell, Gilbert spent a couple of seasons as a coach before largely removing himself from the sport to spend time with his burgeoning family. 

"I was lucky enough to have three daughters," Gilbert said. 

"Unfortunately the women's league tag has become in vogue the last couple of years and my daughters are a little bit past that.

"So no, I haven't been involved, but I always keep a close eye on what's going on lately and also at NRL level, and I'm still very interested in it and can't wait for the season to start." 

There has been plenty of local talent for Gilbert to observe, as Crookwell has churned out representative talent at a startling rate, which he attributes to the work ethic imbued in players early on.

"The harder you work, the luckier you get, and the Picker boys [Joe, Cameron, Michael, and Ben Picker, who all played representative rugby league at differing levels] have done thousands of miles of traveling to training, as did I early on," Gilbert said. 

"And [then you have] Jason Croker, he's a household name in Canberra being the highest game-player [for the Raiders, with 318].

"Before that we had George Grant and Neil Whittaker, both also from Crookwell and played a lot of top-grade NRL in the 80's.

"It's a pretty good nursery in the area." 

Gilbert has spent many years involved in the golfing community in Crookwell and is currently the president of the Crookwell Golf Club. 

The full list of inductees into the Canberra Raiders' Hall of Fame is as follows: 

  • Chris O'Sullivan (204 games, 273 points, two premierships)
  • Ashley Gilbert (135 games, 163 points)
  • Dean Lance (160 appearances, eight points, two premierships)
  • Gary Belcher (148 appearances, 572 points, two premierships)
  • Gary Coyne (158 appearances, 112 points, two premierships)
  • John Ferguson (94 appearances, 200 points, two premierships)
  • Mal Meninga (166 appearances, 864 points, three premierships)
  • Steve Walters (228 appearances,164 points, three premierships)
  • Brent Todd (91 appearances, two premierships)
  • Laurie Daley (244 appearances, 445 points, three premierships)
  • Glenn Lazarus (92 appearances, 40 points, two premierships)
  • Bradley Clyde (178 appearances, 152 points, two premierships)
  • Ricky Stuart (203 appearances, 195 points, three premierships)
  • Tim Sheens (coach, 242 appearances, 161 wins, three premierships)