Hand of mateship reaches out to Lui when he needs it most

The growing maturity in the Canberra Raiders was never more evident for Dunamis Lui than in the moment after his first touch of the ball in the preliminary final against Souths Sydney.

It was an inauspicious start for Lui, an integral member of the Raiders' engine room this season, who knocked the ball on.

The turnover was in a dangerous part of the field and it helped heap more pressure on the home side.

Rather than point fingers, it was Josh Hodgson who got in Lui's ear and reminded him he and the rest of the forwards had a job to do against a strong Rabbitohs pack.

"When somebody does an error or misses a tackle all of the boys surround each other, they always have each other's back," Lui said.

"Like tonight when I dropped that ball, Hodgo had my back there.

"They (Souths) scored off the back of that, but the way the boys come over and got around me, we're all really tight and we've been that way all year and nothing's really changed."

With an impromptu Viking Clap breaking out two minutes from time, 26,567 Raiders fans celebrated their first grand final appearance in 25 years.

Lui said he was overcome at the final siren but knows the job is only half finished as they await the winner of the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters preliminary final on Saturday.

"I was a bit lost for words, I didn’t know what to say, I got a bit emotional out there, but this is an incredible feeling," Lui told NRL.com post-game.

"We've worked really hard this year and we're that tight and we've all been talking about making a grand final and winning the comp and we've all worked hard for each other.

"But I think it's just been the build-up to the game and the tightness of this group we have is something special.

"So the chance to be in the grand final and have the chance to win the comp, it's incredible.

"Even though we have beaten Melbourne twice, we know they'll come out firing if they get through and Roosters have been the team to beat all year."

The capacity crowd at GIO Stadium was the culmination of a week-long build up for the Raiders, with the city awash with lime green.

Lui said his team needs to appreciate but block out the outside noise as they prepare for the biggest game of their careers.

"There's been a lot of hype and buzz around the city, but the boys have done well to not let that bother us," he said.

"It was so loud (the crowd), they've been that way all year, but we've really got to thank our fans because without them we wouldn't be where we are, they've given us a lot support and it was a crazy feeling (Friday night)."