Raper-Raper !! Ron?s sick of hearing the name. Sons of famous fathers... brothers of famous big brothers... all share a strange dilemma which allows them to enjoy reflected glory, but makes at almost impossible to attain that same glory on their own. And while people like Ron Raper are immensely proud of their name particularly the name Johnny Raper ?He?s a great footballer and a great bloke? there are times when they wonder... ?Sometimes I wish my name was Smith or Jones... anything but Raper.I get disturbed about my name.It was Ron Raper speaking this week from his home office for Pacific Land Company in Redcliffe. What would disturb a man of Raper?s experience?. Living up to the Raper name,mostly, and maybe not getting credit for your own ability on the football field. Spectators and selectors tend to keep comparing Raper with the former wizard test lock who has been the greatest Rugby League player in modern time and you can throw Reg Gasnier in that list. So much so Raper?s football ability is not judged by normal standards, but by the standards of a super footballer. When you know this,you can understand how a bloke like Ron Raper can be disturbed by his name. But let us rush on to say that the times Raper wonders if he would not rather be a Smith or Jones are but a drop in the ocean compared to the times when he wouldn?t change his name for a million. Naturally Johnny Raper?s fame has been the overshadowing feature in the football lives of his eight young brothers, of which Ron is the fifth. When Johnny was in Sydney Ron took every chance he could to see his big brother play... that is when he was not involved in a match himself.?I used to watch him play, particularly when I was younger and I used to try and copy him,? Ron said.?But there some things I couldn?t do.? No doubt his other brothers did the same and came to the same conclusions. All have found,no doubt,too that is hard to be judged on your own ability if your name is Raper. Perhaps,for one of the rare times in his life Ron Raper is finally being given full credit for his football ability since he joined Redcliffe this year. He has found himself in the position of team organiser on-field and forward adviser to coach Barry Muir.And his ability to organise and lead the team on field is paying off for Redcliffe. Tactically,Raper is one of the top on-field brains in the game in Brisbane. His raking line kicks under pressure often turn the tables on the opposition. His general play does not have the brilliance of a Johnny Raper, but in this league he is head and shoulders over most opposition.... there we go down a well worn path, comparing a Raper with THE Johnny Raper. Ron has, however the best answer to anyone who compares him with his brother with such quotes as ?You?re not as good as your brother,Raper.? Ron Raper?s simple reply is ?Yes,but who is?? At 26 years of age Raper has come to Queensland to realise a life-long ambition to play in the interstate series.So this year Raper packed his bags and moved to Redcliffe to the mutual benefit of Redcliffe,Brisbane and Ron Raper. Raper is just as happy as his new club with the partnership. ?Sydney players don?t know what they are missing, back in Sydney I used to live in Canterbury Road with it?s never-ending noise. Here at Redcliffe I?m five minutes from the water and the only noise here comes from the birds.? I?ve signed on for four years with Redcliffe and I?ll be playing out that contract if my body holds out. If it doesn?t then I?ll taking on a coaching job around here somewhere.? But I?m staying right here in Redcliffe from now on.? Now what better sales pitch could anyone want, to recommend a place to settle down? So any of you nervous Sydney players,if you?re looking for a little peace and quiet after the rattle and battle of a big city, see Ron Raper, by the sea, at Redcliffe.
This article was published in Rugby League Week in 1973