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The Canberra Raiders Premier League team has entry to the hottest sporting event in Sydney this Saturday night, but they won?t be sticking around to watch footy. They?ll be there to play.
The Raiders meet the Roosters in the Premier League Preliminary Final at 5.35pm, preceding the soldout NRL grand final qualifier between the Dragons and the Tigers at Aussie Stadium.
But like last weekend, the Raiders will be on their way back to Canberra when the NRL final is being played. Hopefully they will also have a grand final berth to consider.
?We?re there to do our job, we?re not there to support any other teams,? said Raiders coach David Furner said. ?It?d be different if our club was involved [in the NRL match]. But we?ll go down there, do our job, get on the bus and come home.?
Furner was excited, however, that his team would get to play in front of a crowd that will be reaching near-capacity during the Premier League match.
?We?re going to be playing before a game which is already soldout, so it?s a good opportunity for our players. It?s also exciting knowing we?re one win away from a grand final.?
Furner has named the same 23-man squad he has for the first two finals, making sure his entire squad is included in preparations. Centre Beau Mundine has been named to start after missing last weekend?s 41-18 win over Manly with a tricep injury.
The Raiders and Roosters have won the past two Premier League grand finals between them ? the Raiders in 2003 and the Roosters in 2004. The Raiders and Roosters also have one win apiece in their 2005 match-ups.
?They [the Roosters] are flying high and they?ve had a couple of week?s rest, but momentum and confidence can be big things,? Furner said. ?We?ve played two weeks in a row and we?re just starting to hit our straps at the right time.?
CANBERRA RAIDERS v SYDNEY ROOSTERS Saturday, September 24, 5.35pm Aussie Stadium
1. WILLIAM ZILLMAN 2. DAVID MILNE 3. JACK PEARSON 4. BEAU MUNDINE 5. JERMAINE ALE 6. TERRY CAMPESE 7. TODD CARNEY 8. WILLIE RASTON 9. JARRED LAWRENCE 10. RYAN BARTON 11. BEN JONES 12. ALAN ROTHERY 13. RYAN HINCHCLIFFE
INTERCHANGE 14. GLEN BUTTRISS 15. ALEX BLAYDEN 16. MICHAEL HOWELL 17. MARC HERBERT 18. MICHAEL CHAPMAN 19. UELESE FAUMUINA 20. BRONX GOODWIN 21. CY LASSCOCK 22. JUNIOR SAU 23. BRENTON LAWRENCE