The Canberra Raiders will look to seal a place in the NRL Grand Final when they take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs at GIO Stadium on Friday night.
Here are five things to look forward to:
Grand Final Opportunity
It has been 25 years since the Green Machine last won a premiership and Canberra fans are hungry for a first Grand Final appearance since that 1994 triumph.
The Raiders are coming off a week break after defeating the Melbourne Storm 12-10 at AAMI Park, where John Bateman scored the winning try in the thrilling victory.
A win against South Sydney would mean Canberra seals a spot in the Grand Final and will play the winner of the Melbourne Storm vs Sydney Roosters game.
Back in time to ‘89
The Raiders will have history on their side this Friday night when they take on the Rabbitohs.
In 1989, Canberra and South Sydney faced off in a Preliminary final with the Raiders taking a 32-16 victory over the Rabbitohs. Now head coach Ricky Stuart was playing at halfback and fullback Gary Belcher scored a double in the win.
Canberra Raider #51 Dean Lance who represented the club between 1984-1990 will lead the Viking Clap on Friday as the current crop of players look to replicate their predecessors.
With the club celebrating and recognising those involved in the club’s maiden premiership, will history repeat itself on Friday night?
Canberra Raiders second-rower Elliott Whitehead will play his 100th NRL game this Friday night.
Whitehead made his debut for the club in March 2016 against the Penrith Panthers, where the Raiders defeated the Panthers 30-22 at GIO Stadium.
He has been a fan favourite since making the move down under and was awarded the Coaches' award at the 2017 Meninga Medal awards night.
This season, the English international has scored three tries in 25 appearances and has also been a defensive force with 810 total tackles made with an 88.6% tackle efficiency.
The Raiders have generally performed well when celebrating player’s club milestones this season and will be hoping to mark the occasion in style.
Sea of Green
Raiders fan will be flocking to GIO Stadium this week as they cheer on the Green Machine in the club’s first ever home Preliminary Final.
The Raiders’ largest home crowd was set in 2010 when 26,476 fans filled into GIO Stadium but there is a chance for that record to be broken.
The Nation’s Capital has been buzzing with finals fever and the Viking Clap led by Raider #51 Dean Lance will be a moment that can’t be missed.
The battle of English internationals will take place at GIO Stadium, with the Burgess brothers taking on countrymen Elliott Whitehead, John Bateman, Ryan Sutton, and Josh Hodgson.
The Rabbitohs will once again be led by Sam Burgess. In 18 appearances this season the Englishman has scored seven tries and has 28 tackle breaks.
Canberra’s English forwards have a combined for 11 tries this season, Bateman has five while Hodgson has two and Sutton has one. As mentioned above, Whitehead as three to his name so far in 2019.
With the England and South Sydney head coach Wayne Bennett watching on, the British will be in full force this Friday night.