Why the Canberra Raiders Should Be Your Grand Final Team


Dreams came true for those in the nation’s capital last week as the Canberra Raiders qualified for their first NRL Grand Final since 1994.

The Raiders and their fans have spent two long decades in the doldrums trying to capture their fourth premiership, and now standing in their way is a resilient Roosters side looking to claim back-to-back trophies.

Ask any Canberran and they’ll tell you supporting the Raiders is tough. But if you’re left without a team on Sunday, there’s still plenty of time to jump on the Green Machine bandwagon, and we’ve listed a handful of reasons why.

Because Bob Hawke

Believe it or not, the late great Bob Hawke was Viking green at heart.

Despite being born in South Australia, our 23rd Prime Minister played an integral part in Canberra’s 1991 Grand Final loss to the Panthers by comforting Ricky Stuart and the rest of the lads in the sheds.

Unlike most of our country’s leaders who bandwagon hop, Hawke was a tried and true member of the Green Machine.

As the clubs No. 1 season ticket holder from 1983 right up until his death, Hawke often held celebration and commiseration parties at The Lodge after games.

A Raiders win this weekend would be made even more special just five months after Hawke’s death, especially if there is a beer or three involved.

Because Lime Milk and Green Snags

The Raiders remain synonymous with their 1990 lime milk glory days, so much so that the club even introduced an updated choc-mint flavour ahead of the 2013 season.

At the time turning plain old full cream milk into a flavoured lime drink seemed like a great marketing ploy, but the taste, on the other hand, left a lot to be desired.

Canberra has since had a fascination with taking ordinary staple foods and turning them green.

Native Canberrans will be familiar with the famous Lindbeck’s butcher, who just recently re-introduced green sausages as a throwback to their menu.

Because Terry Campese Deserves It

The Raiders’ 16-10 victory over Souths last week was made even more special after the game as a host of club legends waited to greet the team.

Terry Campese, who played in 139 games for the Raiders between 2004-2014, was one of the notables in the sheds. Canberra’s list of legends features many all-time greats including Mal Meninga and Bradley Clyde, but there is one thing separating Campese from the rest: a premiership.

Campese only ever made it as far as the Semi-Finals in 2010 with the Raiders during his injury-plagued career.

On the plus side, Campese leaving for the UK in 2015 opened up the captaincy for Jarrod Croker, but without a premiership to his name, how can you not root for one of the most famous members of the Green Machine to finally watch his team win a premiership?

Because Viking Clap

Sports teams are always coming up with new ways to engage with their fans in what can sometimes be seen as a desperate attempt to create a “You’ll Never Walk Alone” type atmosphere.

Despite constant mocking, Port Adelaide continues to try their hardest with INXS’ “Never Tear Us Apart” in the AFL, while even Collingwood dabbled with Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” for a chorus or two.

Most of the time these things come across tacky and unauthentic, but not Canberra’s Viking Clap.

Like a wise man once said – keep it simple stupid. A drum and a simple clap, mixed in with 25,000 fans at GIO Stadium make for one of hell a pregame ritual.

Because Dress-Ups are Fun

There are fans. There are super fans. And then there are Raiders fans.

Canberrans take game-time to a whole new level each and every week as they constantly come up with new and creative ways to get their green on.

Viking costumes and even all-green suits like the one below are commonplace on game days, and while Roosters fans are passionate themselves, nothing beats the cult-like fans Canberra has to offer.

Because Droughts are Made to Be Broken

The Dragons and Eels might have something to say when it comes to premiership droughts, but as far as the Raiders are concerned, 25 years is still a helluva long time between drinks.

Canberra hasn’t hoisted the trophy since 1994 – the same year Forrest Gump and The Shawshank Redemption hit cinemas!

If that isn’t reason enough to make you feel old and also want to barrack for the Raiders to finally give their fans something to cheer about, then we aren’t sure what is.

Because They Were the First Team to Lift the Trophy Outside of Sydney

The modern-day Raiders have become somewhat of a laughing stock as they continue to come up with new ways to escape playing in the Grand Final.

Little do people know though, Canberra was actually the first team outside of Sydney to win the premiership. Rewinding back to the NSWRL days, the Raiders beat Balmain 19-14 in the 1989 Grand Final, also becoming the first team to win the trophy from fourth on the ladder.

Because They Are the Good Guys

Depending on who you talk to, the Raiders are actually a very likeable team, and from a punting perspective, one that continues to provide plenty of profit.

Canberra opened the 2018/19 season at $19.00 odds to win the premiership behind, get this, the Dragons and Cowboys.

The Raiders have also been enormous value as the away underdog this season winning five of their six games at the wider odds. Throw in a likeable roster made up of Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, Jarrod Croker and Nick Cotric, and you have a very formidable team capable of rivalling the Raiders’ glory years in the 90s.

Because They Should Be Your Second Team

The NRL conducted a survey this time last year asking fans to choose which team they liked beating the most.

Not surprisingly, the Storm were number one, followed closely by the Roosters at number two.

If you’re a fan of a club outside of Sydney, or of course, a fan of the Dragons, Bulldogs and Rabbitohs, you’ll most certainly be barracking for the Raiders on Sunday night.

There’s just something about a good underdog story that gets people excited, and that’s exactly what the Raiders are this season.

Defensively the Green Machine plays with a chip on their shoulder and against a highly successful club like the Roosters – one that is not far away from full-blown dynasty status – the Raiders are an easy pick as your second team for the final game of the season.

Tips, recommendations and commentary are for entertainment only. We provide no warranty about accuracy or completeness. You should make your own assessment before placing a bet.