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With the Raiders set to open their 2019 home season with back-to-back Friday night fixtures at GIO Stadium, we decided to take a look back at the top five Friday night footy matches at the venue.

Take a look at our selections and let us know if you think we've picked the best games!

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1990 – Round 1 v Dragons 26-10

After the club's maiden premiership in 1989, the hype around the Green Machine was palpable as they got set to open their title defence at their new home ground of Bruce Stadium (now know as GIO).

A star-studded Raiders line-up led by now Immortal Mal Meninga didn't let the crowd of 22,257 down, as they demolished the St George Dragons at what was soon to become the newest fortress of the competition.

The Raiders scored five tries on the night including a Raiders classic, with Laurie Daley finishing off some stunning lead up work from Bradley Clyde and Meninga.

Laurie Daley Try v Saints 1990

1995 – Round 8 v Broncos 26-0

Was there anything more mouth watering in the 1990's then a Friday night fixture between the Raiders and Broncos? We think not. The two powerhouse clubs of that era never played in a Grand Final, but were both certainly up for it every time they faced off during this period.

This particular April night at Bruce Stadium produced one of those moments which is forever etched into the memory of the Green Machine faithful. With the Raiders up 6-0 after 17 minutes they looked to work the ball out of their own end and set up field position, as the Broncos restarted after a 6-0 score line.

Brett Mullins try v Broncos 1995

After four tackles the Raiders found themselves around 40m out from their own line, with Ricky Stuart playing the ball after he dived on a loose pass. With not much doing around the ruck, Brett Mullins decided to move into dummy half and take a run. The dynamic Raiders fullback spotted some lazy marker defence and a deep fullback and made the decision to chip over the Broncos defensive line for himself.

The kick was almost inch perfect as he looked to regather, but the bounce of the ball didn't favour the Raiders flyer. Instead of trying to dive on the ball he made the call, on the run, to toe the ball forward again. This kick was good enough to beat the Broncos fullback and this time he had the opposite bounce, as it looked like Mullins had overrun his mark.

But the skill set and athleticism of the Raiders number one was fully on display, as he reached back, scooped in the ball and dived over for one of the most famous tries in Raiders history.

Ray Warren's famous call is repeated often by Raiders fans recalling the night they witnessed something special.

"Kick and Chase by Mullins. Kick and chase again by Mullins! This will be a Miracle! OHHHH IT IS A MIRACLE!"

The Raiders would go on to win 26-0 in front of a crowd of 23,740.

2000 – Qualifying Final v Panthers 

On a wet and windy Sunday afternoon at home in 2000, the Raiders triumphed in their last home game of the season, defeating the Roosters 40-12 to farewell three club legends in Laurie Daley, David Furner and Brett Mullins, who had seemingly walked off the ground for the last time as Raiders as they finished the regular season with three away fixtures.

With the regular season concluded the Green Machine finished in fourth position on the ladder and with the old McIntyre finals system in place, they secured a home semi-final against the Penrith Panthers who finished one place behind them in fifth position.

This gave the Raiders faithful an encore performance to farewell the three club legends and a crowd of 18,479 turned out again to see the Raiders give them another fine send-off, with the Raiders blowing the Panthers away to win 34-16.

Unfortunately for Raiders fans that's where the fairytale ended that season, with the Raiders running into a red-hot Roosters in week two of the finals losing 38-10 at the Sydney Football Stadium.

2017 – Round 19 v Dragons 18-14 (Golden Point)

After four consecutive losses including two at home, the Raiders were desperate to return to the winner's circle as they faced the Dragons on a chilly July night in 2017.

The Raiders trailed the Dragons 12-6 midway through the second half, with the Green Machine defending set after set from the Red V as they looked to extend the lead out of the Raiders reach.

Fortunately for the Raiders, Dragons pivot Gareth Widdop's attempt to get on the outside of the defense with a pass was intercepted by Aidan Sezer, who ran 90m untouched to score under the posts. Jarrod Croker converted and it was game-on again at 12-12.

Both teams traded penalty goals to take the game to 14-14 with 10 minutes left on the clock, with the Raiders missing three field goals and the Dragons two as the game finished deadlocked after 80 minutes.

Whitehead try v Dragons 2017

The start of Golden Point saw the Dragons kick the ball deep into the Raiders corner and after four plays the Raiders were struggling to get the ball out of their own end. It was that man Sezer who stepped up again to deliver, as he kicked a 40/20 to give the Raiders a chance to set up for a fourth field goal attempt.

As they looked to set-up, the ball was given to the "Coal-Train" with big Dave Taylor spotting a slight gap in the Dragons defence. The hulking prop spun his way in the tackle to offload a peach of a pass to Elliott Whitehead, who dived over to score the match winner in a Golden Point thriller.

2018 – Round 12 v Manly 21-20

In 2017 the Raiders were on the back end of two heartbreaking golden point losses to Manly, with the Sea Eagles Dylan Walker proving the villain as the boys from the Northern Beaches scored all four competition points.

It wasn't looking like the Raiders would get revenge come 2018 after Manly inflicted an early season victory over Canberra, as they ran out convincing 32-16 winners at Lottoland.

The return fixture at GIO Stadium wasn't looking bright for the Raiders either, as they trailed Manly 20-14 with just under five minutes remaining on the clock. With the game on the line and the clock ticking down the Raiders decided to roll the dice, as they spread the ball to the left early in the tackle count looking for an opportunity. That opportunity arrived in the form of a strong straightening run by Jack Wighton who found Nick Cotric with a flat ball and some space on the sideline.

The composed teenager then showcased his skill with a deft kick from his right foot back to the inside of the field. The kick was perfectly placed for Wighton, as he launched himself to catch the ball and plant it over the try line to reduce the deficit to two points.

Sezer field goal v Manly 2018

There was still work to do for the Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker to level the score, but as he has on so many occasions, he calmly slotted the conversion to draw level with just under three minutes remaining.
The Raiders worked their way back downfield and looked again to the left, with Aidan Sezer placing a kick perfectly into Manly's right corner. Manly fullback Tom Trbojevic fumbled the ball and Nick Cotric pounced for what looked like the match winning try. But the video referee confirmed Trbojevic was touching the ball while his feet were on the in-goal line.

The ensuing restart gave the Raiders one last chance in regulation time and that's all they needed, with Aidan Sezer sending over a shaky drop-goal to secure a gritty victory.

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