Maintaining a bizarre record is just about all there is to play for in round 23.
Canberra’s attempt to maintain the famous hoodoo is one of the prime reasons to tune in for the match with the St. George Illawarra Dragons at GIO Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Green Machine’s winning streak against “the red V” in the nation’s capital stretches back to 2000, in what is one of the only impressive statistics the Raiders can boast about at the moment.
But as the season winds to an early grinding halt, the Raiders need whatever motivation they can in order to notch up a win. There are a few other things to play for—avoiding the wooden spoon and attempting to get Jarrod Croker over the line as the season’s leading point-scorer—but this is just bizarre enough to get them over the line.
Canberra was far more impressive last week against the Eels, only going down in the last ten minutes after leading all the way. The result aside, the players committed for each other more than they did the week prior against the Warriors. It’s the same line-up as the previous outing, so once again the same players have a chance to change the final result around.
The opposition this week has its season hanging by a knife’s edge. They went down fairly meekly last week against the Panthers, and now sit four points adrift of the top eight with an unflattering for-and-against. Quite bluntly, they need to win this game. On paper, they should—but once again, there’s that hoodoo.
There will also be extra spice in this game coming from the previous Raiders players who are now sporting the red and white jersey—Josh Dugan being the obvious candidate. While old wounds have probably healed by now, there will always be a little extra feeling when former team-mates clash.
If the Dragons want to be any chance of playing finals footy then they have to beat the side sitting second-last on the table. If they don’t then even if they make the finals that will be proof enough they won’t make an impact.
The Raiders have a streak to maintain. Despite the lack of, well, pretty much anything impressive this year, there is just something that suggests they will maintain it; it’s too good a record to let slip.
Will the hoodoo remain alive?