Canberra has thrown its weight behind the Raiders’ NRL premiership tilt as the Green Machine push for their first grand final appearance in 25 years when they host South Sydney Rabbitohs at GIO Stadium Canberra this Friday 27 September.
Our city has shown its support by eating up green sausages, green bread, green beer and of course the mainstay, choc-mint Canberra Milk; while lime green lighting has covered the Carillion, Black Mountain Tower, Canberra’s light rail stops and the Captain Cook Jet.
It’s expected to be standing room only at Bruce as extra seating for the South Sydney clash is set to eclipse the current Raiders’ crowd record – the 26,476 that attended a 2010 finals loss to Wests Tigers.
GIO Stadium will have a maximum crowd capacity of 28,100 for the final. Its current configuration means the ground record of 28,753 – set when the Brumbies downed the Crusaders in the 2004 Super Rugby final – will remain out of reach.
Raiders winger Nick Cotric, a born and raised Canberra local, said the opportunity to play a final before a sold-out home crowd is a childhood dream come true.
“It’s good seeing the community get amongst it all, and see the town be really supportive of the Raiders; for the last few seasons we didn’t feature in the semis.
“It’s going to be good having friends and family there too and I just want to do them proud,” he said.
While the Raiders are renowned for their core loyal following that turn out in any weather and stay solid during the side’s lean years, it turns out Canberra loves a winning side.
The club has achieved record attendance and membership numbers this season as Ricky Stuart’s men have continued to defy the odds over the course of 2019.
The Green Machine powered to their top four finish by playing disciplined, defence-oriented football that saw them concede on average just 15.6 points per game, down from the 22.5 points per game they conceded in 2018.
They now have a shot of qualifying for a historic grand final 30 years after the club won its inaugural premiership in 1989.