Simon Tayoun is well known around the rugby league world. Despite residing in Bass Hill in Sydney, he is one of the most passionate and die-hard Canberra Raiders fans you will ever meet. If you’ve heard the Viking clap then you have heard Simon playing his drum. Known widely as the Canberra Raiders Drummer, he travels to all Raiders games and is well known to all the players and staff.
I sat down with Simon to chat about his love for the game of rugby league and the Canberra Raiders.
Q. How did you become the Canberra Raiders drummer?
A. I have been following the raiders since 1987. When the raiders started the Viking clap around 2014, I thought to myself, ‘get the drum ready’ because how can you do the Viking clap with no drum? I think that’s how the Viking clap is so popular now.
Q. Where did you grow up?
A. I come from Lebanon where we don’t know much about rugby league — all I knew in Lebanon was soccer growing up. In 1987 my brother-in-law took me to watch South Sydney vs the Raiders at Redfern oval and they wanted me to go for South Sydney. I told them, ‘No! I will follow the Raiders!’ And from 1987 till now I have always followed the Canberra Raiders with a passion, being to all their grand finals since.
Q, What did you do as a kid in Lebanon?
A. I was playing soccer [and] I was the first choice goalkeeper and my team actually won the Lebanon Cup in 1986 in front of a big crowd. It was a special memory for me but now since I’ve come to Australia, rugby league is my favourite sport.
Q. What is the best part about being the drummer for the Raiders?
A. Meeting a lot of people, supporting my team keeping the atmosphere high for the players, and it’s really special when the kids come play the drum. I also make sure disabled people get to play the drum as I look out for them at the games.
I love it when people come and take photos with me and my drum, it brings me a lot of happiness and makes everyone enjoy themselves. I even told some of my friends and family that when I die I want to be put in a Raider’s coffin!! That’s how much I love the team.
Q. You’ve been doing the drum since 2014, what’s your favourite memory?
A. In 2019 when we played Melbourne twice in three weeks and we won in Melbourne and Sia Soliola (Raiders players) came over to me and we did the Viking clap with all raiders supporters. It was something that I will never forget.
Q. What do you think about GIO Stadium?
A. It’s good for now but they should try to make it more modern and larger as we are the capital city. I think they need to build the stadium like Bankwest in Parramatta. It is a huge stadium with big lights that makes the fans want to go and support the team.
Q. What do you think the Raiders can do to improve this season?
A. They have to play the full 80 minutes. They are making a habit of only playing for 40 minutes. They give up and they don’t wanna play, but whatever they do I always go and support the boys in the bad and in the good.
Q. What do you think about the coach of the Raiders, Ricky Stuart?
A. He is a good man. I see Ricky every week before and after the games and it’s his job to be hard on the boys. I respect him and I think he is a great coach that can take the Raiders to a premiership soon.