Eighty minutes of football will decide if the Canberra Raiders are the 2019 NRL Premiers when they take on defending premiers the Sydney Roosters on Sunday 6 October 7.30pm at ANZ Stadium Sydney.
The Raiders’ first grand final appearance since 1994, they secured their spot with a hard fought 16-10 win over the South Sydney Rabbitohs at GIO Stadium on Friday 27 September.
A record crowd of 26,567 attended the match, participating in a resounding rendition of the Viking Clap to start proceedings.
The home side claimed the early advantage with a try to co-captain Jarrod Croker. The teams went into the break level 6-6 before Jack Wighton extended the Raiders’ lead early in the second half.
With 10 minutes remaining on the clock, Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad was sinbinned for a professional foul. Despite being a man down, the Raiders hung tough in defence and eventually Josh Papalii burst through the Bunnies’ defence to score under the posts. Croker added the extras for the Raiders to lead 16-6. Souths scored a consolation try at the death but the Raiders had done enough to secure the win.
Papalii, who was placed on report for a high shot, is free to play in the Grand Final after escaping suspension; Sia Soliola will also be free to play and will face a fine for his high shot on Sam Burgess.
Joey Leilua, who limped off with a lower leg injury, was named in the Raiders squad on Tuesday and is expected to take his place in the Grand Final against the Sydney Roosters.
Last time they met: The Roosters have claimed the chocolates in both encounters between the sides this year. On 12 May (Round 9), the Roosters won 30-24 after leading 24-6 at half-time with the Raiders falling short in their fight back; while on 11 August (Round 21), the Roosters won 22-18 after leading 18-12 at the break.
Viking Clap: NRL Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Abdo confirmed the Viking Clap will be used for the Canberra Raiders’ run-on before the grand final on 6 October with Raiders icon Mal Meninga – the last premiership-winning captain of the Raiders in 1994 – to blow the club’s Viking Horn before kick-off.