Katrina Fanning is a rare Canberra gem and knows more about rugby league than the rest of the Raiders board combined. So says Raiders chief executive Don Furner, who applauded her announcement as the ACT Australian of the Year on Monday night. Furner also labelled Fanning a pioneer in women's rugby league - playing in the first ever Jillaroos test in 1995. Back when she had to pay her way to play for her country and well before the Women's NRL competition existed. She's also a champion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and a passionate supporter of the game - especially the women's one. It was that passion that made the Raiders board headhunt her. "So well deserved. Forget everything else she's done, her time in rugby league - she played when the women's game wasn't even covered," Furner said. "She told me she had to pay for her own trips. "She really was a pioneer in that sport at a time when it wasn't trendy, and it wasn't on television and it wasn't getting the coverage. "She's a fantastic addition to our board and we all sent her messages of first of all 'good luck' and then secondly "congratulations'." Fanning joined the Raiders board in April, making her one of three women along with Yvonne Gillett and Bronwyn Fagan. The Wiradjuri woman played 25 Tests for Australia and was the most capped female player in the world when she retired. "She's very down to earth. I joke with the other board members that she knows more about rugby league than all of them put together," Furner said. "She sits there and analyses the game. She's really good with the players and she's got a passion for the sport, and particularly the women's side of the sport. "There's not many people like her in Canberra and we're lucky that she lives here because she's also on the NRL indigenous council." Furner said the Raiders would move into their new Braddon centre of excellence early in the new year and then they'd look at submitting a team into the Women's NRL. "We've got to move into our new facility first and then we'll look to put a team in in '21 or '22, but we haven't submitted a proposal yet," he said.