Come 9pm Sunday evening, the 2019 NRL Premiers will be crowned.
Fighting out of the Red, White & Blue corner we have the cashed up, heavily favoured, defending NRL heavyweight champs, The Sydney Roosters.
Fighting out of the Green corner we have the overwhelming sentimental favourites, a club returning to the big dance for the first time since ’94, a side hungry for success and spurred on by the passion of their community, The Canberra Raiders.
A real David vs Goliath story!
Everyone loves the underdog story and is well aware that dynasties must be toppled for the greater good of the league.
I could’ve just listed “They are not the Sydney Roosters” eight times and the message would have rang true for many punters, but there are also plenty of endearing reasons why you should all grab a green snag, crack open a carton of lime milk and cheer on the Green Machine during the NRL Grand Final this Sunday, and I’ve ran through them all below!
1. Canberra Milk.
Combining Citrus Lime with Milk. A controversial, yet brave move made by Canberra Milk back in 1993-95 when teaming up with the Raiders to claim their 3rd and most recent NRL Premiership.
Rarely was the late and great former Prime Minister Bob Hawke pictured without a schooner in hand, but back in ’94 the ol’ silver swapped in his staple frothy for a celebratory Raiders Lime Milk with Premiership star Chicka Ferguson.
Despite not being the Raiders major sponsors since ’95, Canberra Milk has developed a cult following online officially becoming the milk of the people. #UpTheMilk
Just an FYI, the Canberra Raiders bandwagon is colloquially known as “The Milk Train” and it’s leaving the station so all aboard lads and lasses
— Harry Scorse (@TheScorsizzler) September 30, 2019
— Canberra Raiders (@RaidersCanberra) September 9, 2019
2. Viking Clap.
The Viking Clap gained international notoriety when the Icelandic Football team introduced it in the 2016 Euro’s.
Like most Aussie backpackers, the Canberra Raiders wasted no time being the ‘Clap’ back to our shores, now every Canberran seems to have contracted it!
The simple combination of a drum followed by a clap allows even the most tone deaf and musically challenged fans to join in with the passionate pregame chant, and boy do they get stuck in!
— Canberra Raiders (@RaidersCanberra) September 28, 2019
— The Sporting Base (@thesportingbase) September 25, 2019
3. Jarrod Croker is a top bloke.
In a club full of deadset legends, captain Jarrod Croker stands above the rest.
Croker came up through the junior ranks in Canberra, making his debut in 2009.
Since then he has gone on to become the Raiders all-time leading try scorer (122) and point scorer (1,944) ahead of club legends David Furner and Mal Meninga!
How the bloke hasn’t pulled on a Blues jersey is the biggest modern day mystery/ travesty.
Croker’s heroics extend beyond the boundaries of the GIO stadium, always taking time to thank his fans and inspire the next generation with his generosity.
The Canberran even owns a few gallopers and loves the punt! #GetAroundHim
Hear from captain Jarrod Croker after he was named the Fred Daly Club Person of the Year
— Canberra Raiders (@RaidersCanberra) September 18, 2019
He’s just won possibly the most important game of his career and Jarrod Croker still thinks of his fans first.
Post match he ran up the stairs to a fan in a wheelchair and have him his shorts.
— Footy Smiles 😁 (@FootySmiles) September 14, 2019
Best show and tell ever! And then as soon as he got home! pic.twitter.com/MRtIcQrYDZ
— Dave (@dkbreen29) May 8, 2019
Life outside of footy for Jarrod Croker… 🐴
— NRL on Nine (@NRLonNine) August 25, 2019
4. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is a deadset flog.
Every hero needs their villain, in Croker’s case it’s Roosters Hardman JHW.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves has quite possible spent time on the judiciary stands this season than OJ did back in ’95.
JWH’s 2019 rap sheet:
R9: Grade-one Crusher Tackle
R11: Grade-one dangerous contact (late)
R17: Grade-one dangerous contact (elbow) – exonerated
R19: Grade-one dangerous contact (late)
R25: Grade-one careless high tackle – exonerated
Wk1 Finals: Grade-one tripping
Rumour has it that he even enjoys a Sunday arvo cider.
Here’s hoping Josh Papalii channels his inner Simon Dwyer on the weekend.
Simon Dwyer with one of the biggest hits you’ll see.
Flattens Jarad Waerea-Hargreaves. Beautiful to watch. Such as shame Simon Dwyer had his career cut short. #tigers #beast #beastmode #bighit #great #herecomesthepain #leveled #smashed #hammered #bighit #rugbyleague #football pic.twitter.com/raCn4uhIKC
— Rugby League Best Tries Hits and Biffs (@NBiffs) September 6, 2018
— Former Legend (@Former_legend) September 14, 2019
JWH off to judiciary for his weekly visit. This time to beat a tripping charge
— The Mole (@9_Moley) September 14, 2019
J.Waerea-Hargreaves is becoming a real liability.
With Friend out, & now Cordner & Taukeiaho now out, his continued recklessness will see the Roosters without 4 of their best forwards.
It’s becoming too often & too costly.
— The Oracle (@BigOtrivia) July 29, 2019
— Chris Halley (@christ_halley) May 24, 2019
5. Roosters operating under salary sombrero.
Although they have never officially been found guilty of rorting the cap, it only takes a fourth grade understanding of maths and a Casio calculator to realise that not all is as it seems in the Roosters books.
Tedesco and Cooper Cronk don’t get out of bed for less than 1mil a year, add that to the plethora of origin starters in Captain Boyd Cordner, Angus Crichton, Latrell Mitchell, then sprinkle on top the likes NRL stars Luke Keary, Brett Morris, Victor Radley, Jake Friend, JWH and the accountants have their work cut out for themselves.
Many punters suggest that the Roosters have kept the brown paper bag industry in Bondi alive for many years now, with more under the table deals than Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid.
Shut up Trent.
Extremely unpopular opinion, but I reckon all the "salary sombrero" criticism towards the Roosters is bullshit. There are so many poorly run clubs in rugby league. Don't hate the Roosters just because they have administrators who actually know what they're doing. #NRLGF
— Trent (@trentslatts) October 2, 2019
6. The Green Machine Fan base.
The Capital bleeds Green!
You start to get a grasp of how much this footy side means to the community when even the green fruit and veg is flying off the shelves!
Canberran businesses have thrown their full weight behind the Raiders ahead the GF in Sydney, butchers and producing green snags, bakeries are baking green bread, cafes are brewing green coffee.
Come Sunday night the ANZ Stadium will be greener than the grass on the other side.
Apparently there’s 50k raiders fans coming up for the game. That’s 49,983 more fans than the roosters #weareraiders
— Troy (@troy_79) September 30, 2019
— The Greenhouse (@TheGHRaiders) September 30, 2019
— LeftcurlyRightcurly (@perlarray) September 29, 2019
I've waited a long time to enjoy this,
— Martin Tye (@martinrev21) October 1, 2019
— The Pillage Voice (@pillage_voice) September 26, 2019
7. The Alternative Fan Base, or lack there of.
I searched the web far and wide in an attempt to unearth some insights on whats it’s like to be a Roosters Fan, the results I yielded can be found below:
8. Everyone loves an underdog story!
The Roosters are 14 time NRL premiership winners, only second behind South Sydney (21) on the all-time winners list.
The boys from Bondi have won the The Provan-Summons trophy three times since the turn of the century and were minor-premiers five times during that same period.
At this point, another premiership for the chooks would be just plain greedy.
Alternatively the Raiders have long been the whipping boys in the national league, winning the competition on only three occasions during the golden era of 1989-1994.
Canberra have had to wait 25 years between drinks since their last GF appearance in ’94, a primary final against the Storm in 2016 was the closest they’ve come, until now.
I think we can all agree that nothing quite gets the hairs to stand up on the back of your neck like a true underdog’s victory.
So grab a jersey, dye your liver green with Raider beer, contract the V-Clap and jump aboard the Lime Milk Bandwagon!
— Col Copeland (@Colincopeland2) September 27, 2019