Born and raised in Tamworth, Alan Tongue is a salt of the earth character and one of the greatest ambassadors for rugby league of all time.
Growing up on a property, farming was a big part of his life, but professional rugby league was his dream.
While at Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School, he was on a scholarship with the Broncos in Years 10, 11 and 12. In his final year of high school he was selected to play for his country in the Australian Schoolboys team which is where he was scouted by the Raiders.
He joined the Raiders in 1999 on a scholarship before making his first grade debut against the Broncos in Round 7 2000. After playing 20 games, he finished the season as the Raiders Rookie of the Year.
He started his first six seasons playing mostly off the bench with the occasional start at lock or in the back row. By 2006 he was our first choice lock.
By the end of his career he played the most games off the bench (82), followed by lock (76) and hooker (50).
An absolute workhorse, in 2006 he broke the record for most tackles in the regular season (1,081) ahead of Nathan Hindmarsh (911).
In 2007 he became captain of the Raiders after Clinton Schifcofske left the club. As the inspirational lock and occasional hooker he was the obvious choice.
Throughout his 13-year career with the Raiders – five of which he served as captain – Alan tallied 220 matches, was named Lock of the Year and Captain of the Year at the 2008 Dally M Awards.
It was often stated that if Alan was a Queenslander he would have played plenty of Origin games but unfortunately he never got a look in for NSW.
He was rewarded with three caps for the Prime Minister’s XIII and one cap for Country, however he deserved more.
He retired at 31 after an incredible career when injuries slowed him down and he decided he couldn’t live up to his lofty standards.
Now 41, Alan lives on a property just outside of Canberra with his wife Katie and four kids.
His post playing career is almost more noteworthy than his playing days which truly says something about the man.
He serves our community as an Ambassador for Ronald McDonald House Canberra, Domestic Violence Crisis Services (Canberra) Champion, is a board member of the Men of League, and an ambassador for the Full Stop Foundation.
He previously worked at the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre but has found his real passion in working for the NRL and promoting the NRL’s Voice Against Violence program. He’s constantly out in schools around the country running programs but has also delivered it in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.
His dedication in helping others was acknowledged in 2017 when he was named the ACT Australian of the Year.
You’ll still hear him on ABC radio as a commentator and he still bleeds green as much as when he captained the club.