How to get on board
Photo: Marco Mana
Going to the Raiders game tomorrow arvo? There's a 58.4 per cent chance you've jumped on the bandwagon.
When you consider the average Raiders home crowd this season was 10,190, the lowest in 11 years, it's only logical that bandwagon jumpers will actually make up the bulk of tomorrow's anticipated 24,500 sellout.
There'll be a few travellers from Cronulla of course, but most of them already moved out for embarrassment after the first television episode of The Shire.
So if you're only following the Green Machine for the first time, and you want to fit in, here's your official guide to jumping on the Raiders' bandwagon.
Keeping up appearances
The first thing you'll want to take care of is your attire.
Try and source a threadbare green jersey. Anything with Woodgers across the torso will earn you more credibility points than Shaun Fensom in fantasy football.
If you've got a Super League jersey then, like Tom Cruise, some things are better left in the closet.
If you must wear this year's jersey, then perhaps chuck it through the washing machine a few times with some pebbles to give it a stone-wash thrashing. Create a back story too: ''I wanted to wear my original 1982 jumper, but 30-years of hotdogs, pies and beer from plastic cups means I'm less chance of squeezing into that than another star player into the Bulldogs salary cap.''
Don't worry, odds are you'll be sitting next to another bandwagon jumper anyway and they'll nod along with anything you say to avoid exposing themselves as a fairweather supporter.
If you must, bring up old time players, the more obscure the better. This list of one-gamers for the Raiders is sure to impress your friends: Lui Bon and Bruce Bacchetto, in 1982; Jim Antonakos in 1986; or Tim Wilby in '87.
Reminisce about the good ol' days like lining up for the open air urinals at Queanbeyan's Seiffert Oval, or sitting on your father's shoulders to watch the game because you couldn't afford a seat in the grandstand. For the most courageous, try to combine it all with reference to a current player.
Example: ''Gee that Tom Learoyd-Lahrs is a big unit for the Raiders. Not as big as David Grant though. I remember sitting on dad's shoulders back in '82 and Seiffert Oval used to shake when the skipper, big Nanna Grant, would hit the ball up!''
For those not so confident, just fit in by yelling the phrase ''they've been doing it all day'' every time the man in the pink shirt blows his whistle and extends his arm in the direction of the Raiders.
So what of this current crop of Raiders, who are they?
Well, back-rower Joel Thompson has a tattoo of his grandma on his forearm, fullback Josh Dugan has enough ink to print a year's supply of this newspaper.
Reece Robinson has an identical twin, Travis, who plays for Penrith, while Raiders centre Jarrod Croker and halfback Sam Williams only look like twins in white headgear.
Sandor Earl, pronounced Shandor (it's Hungarian) has been a better mid-season bargain than tinsel during Christmas in July celebrations. Google image him, but be careful not to attract the attention of the IT department at work or your girlfriend.
Blake Ferguson left the Sharks to win a premiership in Canberra, but dances to every victory like it is a grand final.
Five-eighth Josh McCrone wears a mouthguard when he sleeps, lock Shaun Fensom makes tackles in his.
Josh Papalii is built like a wombat and plays like Ruben Wiki (if you don't know who Ruben Wiki is, don't try to pretend you're a real Raiders fan tomorrow. It's too late for you).
David Shillington's a Kangaroos rep and Raiders skipper, Dane Tilse is the one bloke who makes him look short.
Hooker Glen Buttriss gloats he's the best thing to come out of Cootamundra since Bradman and wattle.
This is harder to explain than the obstruction rule. But here's some crib notes on Canberra's year.
Robbed by the refs against the Storm in round one. How good was Campo against the Tigers in round four? Unlucky bastard though Campo, ruptured his knee again versus the Broncos in round seven. Dugan and Ferguson dropped for hitting the turps before the round 12 loss to the Rabbitohs. People calling for coach David Furner's head after the 40-0 loss to the Tigers in round 13. The Raiders going away into camp before the round 14 win over the Knights, so sticking to a good thing and staying in a hotel before home games. Another year, another win over the Dragons in round 17. Thrashing ladder-leader Melbourne in round 18, then doing the same to the top-of-the-table Bulldogs in round 25. Booed off by fans against the Titans in round 19, but somehow managing to win nine of their last 12 games - including the last five straight.
And so we arrive at tomorrow's home final. There's still space on the bandwagon, although it may be standing room only at Canberra Stadium.
■ The information above should be used with caution as it may actually identify you as a bandwagon jumper.