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2020 Grand Final – Who to Cheer for?

With the Canberra Raiders season ending last Friday night, there’s been a few days now to digest the result and reflect on the Green Machine’s season.

The Grand Final is now just a few short days ahead, and Raiders members and fans can get ready to sit back and watch the footy on Sunday night without having to check the heart rate monitor every five minutes.

But who to go for? When you’ve gone so close two years in a row, many Raiders fans (us included) have felt pretty flat all week and no doubt a bit meh about the game on Sunday.

So, we’ve decided to provide you with a list of three reasons to get behind either the Storm or the Panthers, to help you decide which side of the fence to sit on.

We were going to do five reasons, but you know…

Melbourne Storm

1. Craig Bellamy – Raider #26, Foundation player for the Green Machine, 1990 Grand Final Winner (against the Panthers) and Raiders Hall of Famer. Bellamy played 20 matches for the club in their debut season in 1982 and went on to play 148 for the Raiders over a decade.

Raider #26 Craig Bellamy
Raider #26 Craig Bellamy

He was part of the 1990 Grand Final team coming from the bench and took the last carry of the game for the Raiders in their win over the Panthers. Still bleeds green deep down and always shares a beer with his good mate Ricky Stuart when the Storm and Raiders go head to head.

1990 Grand Final Highlights: Raiders v Panthers

2. Victoria – Let’s face it, 2020 has been as much fun as a Roosters win. But for all the challenges we Raiders fans in the ACT have faced its been nothing compared to what’s gone on recently in the big V. If anyone deserves something to brighten their mood this weekend it’s the Aussies from south of the Murray River.

3. Cameron Smith – Love him or loathe him he’s had one of the most successful careers in rugby league history and will go down as one of the best players to lace up a boot. First and only player so far to play 400 NRL matches, he’s won two Dally M’s, premierships and is only missing a Clive Churchill medal from his trophy cabinet. If he does it on Sunday, he will also become the first referee to win the award.

Penrith Panthers

1. Greg Alexander – Not only is proud Panther Brandy one of the Raiders biggest fans through his punditry on Fox League, he also played a pivotal role in helping Jack Wighton become the Raiders first Dally M Medal winner since 1995.

With Penrith’s own Nathan Cleary having one hand on the medal with two rounds to play, it was Alexander who stepped up to the plate and served up three crucial Dally M Votes for Jack Wighton in round 19, which would be enough to see him declared the winner. Cheers Brandy!

Jack Wighton winning the 2020 Dally M Medal
Jack Wighton winning the 2020 Dally M Medal

2. Growing your own – In a time in the game where money talks, it’s always great to see a team do well who’s developed their own talent and the Panthers have done just that. They’ve got a stack of local juniors who’ve come through the ranks together and will play alongside each other Sunday.

3. Doin it for the Riff – There’s a reason why they have so many good juniors in Penrith and that’s because of the lack of things to do there. A quick search of Trip Advisor will let you know that the Top 10 Attractions in Penrith include two breweries, a river and the local shopping centre. If that’s not a place screaming out for something to get behind, we don’t know what is!

The Mighty Nepean River comes in at number two of things to do in Penrith
The Mighty Nepean River comes in at number two of things to do in Penrith

We hope this article has helped you decide on who to follow Sunday, let’s just hope it’s a good game with no rubbish on the face or any Tik Tok try celebrations. Enjoy the game, take a couple of months off and then prepare for season 2021 as the Green Machine chase their own Grand Final dreams.