UNSW Raiders GridIron - Latest News

UNSW Raiders 2019 Merchandise

The UNSW Raiders are proud to have partnered with Sportility to launch a new range of apparel!

The online Gear Shop is live now so check it out at http://unswraiders.sportility.co/ or clicking on the shop image on the right and place your order!

We have created an initial order window with a deadline of Sunday June 16 so please order by this date for a July delivery!


Training starting for 2019

Pre-season training announcement

We have been warned that David Phillips Sporting Complex will be closed tomorrow and Wednesday due to the violent weather that is forecast for Sydney over the next 2 days. Mens Practice will return on Thursday the 6th of June at 7.30 pm, Colts & Women will start Wednesday the 12th of June because of the Monday the 10th of June being a Public Holiday.

Contact us if you would like any more information.


Want to play Womens Gridiron?

With the NSW women’s competition boasting a record 7 teams this year, there has never been a more exciting time to join and give American Football a go.

Our women’s team train on Monday and Wednesday nights and welcome players of all experience levels… from the super fans, to those who have never watched a game. Those who love running, catching and tackling, to those strong women who would prefer to stand and wrestle.

If you’re anything like our Raiders player Renae “Red” Hahn (#43) pictured above, maybe you’re just looking to find friends in a new city (…accidentally get hooked and stick around for 7 years)

Whatever your reasons, be sure to Contact US to find out more about getting involved in the Raiders 2019 season

Photo by Alfr3d Wong Photography


Coaches Profile – Michael “Rook” Vardavas

Back to coaches


The UNSW Raiders are pleased to announce Michael “Rook” Vardavas as the mens Defensive Line coach. Coach Rook was the D-Line coach for the 2018 season and returns for 2019. He has an impressive playing career where he’s always played Defensive Line starting his career back in 1986.

Michael started watching Gridiron on TV back in the ’80s when by chance he was driving past Rushcutters Bay Park and saw a bunch of guys playing it. He says he “went to check it out and signed up then and there for the Eastern Suburbs Buccaneers.” When asked how he got the nickname ‘Rook’ he explains, “There were five Michael’s on the team and I was the youngest. I was the Rookie. One day one of the veterans of the team called out ‘hey rook come over here!’ He was looking at me when saying it and it stuck ever since then.” He says he was called ‘Rook’ all through his playing years, from local, to state, to national team. He laughs that even some refs were unaware of his real name for years.

This year will mark Michaels 30th year with the Raiders.

He was selected on the Raiders 25 year silver anniversary team.

Coaching philosophy: Family

Coaching experience:

  • 2018 Defensive Line coach

Playing Experience:

  • 1986-1988 East Suburbs Buccaneers
  • 1989-2010 Bondi Raiders
  • 1986-2000 NSW State team
  • 1996 – Australian team selection
  • 1999 – Australian Representative for 1st World Cup.

Back to coaches


Breaking news! Luca Brundu accepted to US College

Some amazing news from the UNSW Raiders family this week: Luca Brundu has officially been accepted to Mt San Antonio college in Walnut California!

“I’m all sorts of emotion at the moment” he said. “Scared, nervous, excited, blown away to say the least, but mainly thrilled that I can make a dream of mine a reality”. Luca started playing Gridiron 4 years ago due to soccer injuries “I was injured and couldn’t trial to get into a higher grade so my Dad suggested I try Gridiron; I haven’t looked back since.”

Luca will be playing for the ‘Mt Sac Mounties’ and will attend the college for 2 years. “All of this came about when Dad came back from the coaching conference in San Antonio, Texas. He made a lot of contacts and got inspired for the club to expand out for the future players to play in America, and luckily I’m the first person to have a shot.” When asked if he’s prepared to play and train at that higher level he responded with “Honestly, physicality wise, I still have a bit to go but I have been working out with  the Raiders Strength and Conditioning Coach, Ben Fraser who’s been amazing with a program that has me working out 6 days a week. 4 in the gym and 2 days on the oval working on conditioning and speed work.”

His dad being a long member of the UNSW Raiders, and recently announced Head Coach of the Men’s team, Coach Andrew Brundu. “This is a great opportunity not only for Luca but for all our Raider family. Just like we are helping young men from the US grow as adults by coming to Australia, we now have an avenue to help our Colts grow as young men with opportunities over in the US. The idea is that they can then come back and help our program here in Australia. I am so excited for the Raider’s future and for Luca.”  He added a personal note, “Mum and Dad love you! Do yourself proud and remember there is nothing that you CANT achieve.”

Luca, you will always be a Raider at heart, but for the next two years…GO MOUNTIES!!