It has been 25 long years since the Raiders last tasted premiership glory, only 12 months for the Roosters, but one of these proud clubs will be lifting the Provan-Summons Trophy at ANZ Stadium on Sunday.
The Raiders seemed to be on the verge of something special three years ago when they finished second, but they lost to Melbourne in the preliminary final and fell short of the finals in 2017 and '18.
Now the Raiders are back in the premiership decider and hungry for success after knocking out the Rabbitohs 16-10 in last week's preliminary final.
In the red, white and blue corner are the Roosters, who are shooting for back-to-back titles after accounting for Melbourne in the other preliminary final.
The Chooks, who are chasing their fourth premiership in 18 years, will welcome back prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves from suspension.
Roosters: Jake Friend has been included on the bench in what will be his first appearance since round 18, with 20-year-old Sam Verrills retaining the hooker role. Zane Tetevano and Ryan Hall dropped off the extended bench on game day. The return of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves from his one-game suspension for tripping pushes Siosiua Taukeiaho back to the bench. Drew Hutchison and Lindsay Collins were culled from the squad 24 hours from kick-off.
Raiders: Canberra have named the same 17 that defeated South Sydney last week, with Ryan Sutton and Siliva Havili trimmed from the Raiders' reserve list. Sam Williams and Sebastian Kris dropped out of the squad on Saturday night.
Luke Keary v Jack Wighton. There's a good chance they'll be teammates when the Australian side is named, but on Sunday they'll be sworn enemies. Keary is surrounded by superstars but he holds the key to victory; when he plays well the Roosters usually win.
Former fullback Wighton has been outstanding in his first season at five-eighth and was instrumental in last week's win over Souths. The Raiders will give themselves a fighting chance if Wighton and halves partner Aidan Sezer can out-play Keary and Cooper Cronk.
For the Roosters to win
They got the better of the Raiders in two meetings during the season and it should serve them well on Sunday, but Trent Robinson needs to add a couple of wrinkles to the game plan to stay one step ahead of Ricky Stuart.
The Roosters have to be prepared to work hard for their points and don't just expect to break through the Raiders' defensive wall through a sheer weight of possession (the Rabbitohs found such tactics to be an exercise in futility). They'll be pumped to send the retiring Cronk out a winner and they need to get Tedesco and Mitchell as much ball as possible. The Chooks are aiming to become the first back to back premiers in 26 years.
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For the Raiders to win
First and foremost they have to be in the right frame of mind and truly believe they can beat the Roosters. That might be easier said than done if they already feel a strong sense of achievement just to be there, but it's the club's first grand final in 25 years so their hunger and motivation should be off the charts.
They have to defend every bit as bravely and strongly as they did when they were constantly under siege last week against the Rabbitohs. Sezer, Wighton and Hodgson need to be spot on with their kicking games, while the forwards can't take a backward step against the experienced Roosters pack. If they can manage to keep Tedesco relatively quiet the Raiders can cause an upset.
Brett Kimmorley says
I see the Roosters winning on Sunday. They've got big-game players in very key positions and that's going to be really important on a huge stage like the grand final. The forward packs will challenge each other and effectively level each other out, and the outside backs are also very similar in that way. The difference will be in the halves where Keary and Cronk have a lot of experience compared to Jack Wighton and Aidan Sezer. The key moments in the match will come from those two positions and that lack of experience for the Raiders will work in the Roosters' favour. Roosters by 8.
If it comes down to golden point on Sunday, both teams have players who don't mind taking a field goal. The Roosters have Cronk, Keary and Mitchell, while Raiders halfback Aidan Sezer kicked four during the season to be equal leader with Penrith's James Maloney. The NRL's top two kick returners go head to head in the grand final, with Canberra fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad notching 1,697 metres in 2019 and Roosters fullback James Tedesco second on 1,475.
And another thing ...
The Raiders will be hoping it's a case of third-time-lucky on Sunday night at ANZ Stadium. The Roosters beat Canberra 30-24 in their Round Nine meeting in Brisbane after building a 24-6 half-time lead. Latrell Mitchell scored two of his team's five tries and kicked two goals.
The Roosters led 18-12 at half-time when they crossed paths with the Raiders in Canberra in Round 21 and held on for a 22-18 victory. Roosters winger Daniel Topou scored two tries, while Mitchell had 10 points from a try and 3/4 conversions.