Is Canberra going to get a new Green Machine?
Not to try to replace them, but to help show the ACT's support for the Canberra Raiders in their bid to win through to their first NRL grand final in 25 years.
The ACT government's looking to paint the town green next week ahead of the Raiders' historic preliminary final at Canberra Stadium against either South Sydney or Manly Friday week.
Lights on bridges, the Black Mountain Tower, tram stops and maybe even the Carillon - if someone asks the National Capital Authority nicely - will all turn green.
There's even a rumour there could be a green tram gracing our brand new tracks.
While the tram could be a lime green bridge too far, the rest of it's on the agenda as the government finalised preparations for the first ever prelim in Canberra.
On top of the temporary seating and extra standing-room tickets - which could push the capacity towards 28,000 - there'll be additional food and beverage outlets, increased bus services, plus pre-game entertainment and pop-up bars.
The government was expecting a sell-out, which could break the Raiders' venue record of 26,476 set at the Wests Tigers semi-final in 2010.
"The ACT government is excited to see another top-quality sports fixture in Canberra and we have been working closely with the NRL to maximise venue capacity and to ensure a fantastic fan experience for the preliminary final," a spokesperson said on Thursday.
"Coming to the stadium to experience the preliminary final is something not to be missed and we're doing everything possible to deliver a fantastic fan experience."
MORE RAIDERS NEWS
Raiders halfback Aidan Sezer was excited for the Canberra fans.
His combination with his new halves partner Jack Wighton, as well as hooker Josh Hodgson, has been a big reason behind earning a place in the grand final qualifier.
Sezer was also part of the Green Machine's drive to the 2016 prelim, where they narrowly went down to the Melbourne Storm.
They hosted two home finals at Canberra Stadium along the way and drew 25,592 for their qualifying final against Cronulla and 21,498 for their semi against Penrith.
"It'll be amazing. We played in a prelim a couple of years ago down [in Melbourne] and we played two games in Canberra and that was special - against Sharks and Penrith," Sezer said.
"To get a game for the Canberrans, it's been a long time since they had a game of this magnitude."
The Raiders will find out their opponents on Friday night when the winner between the Rabbitohs and Sea Eagles at ANZ Stadium will book a trip to Canberra.
Sezer said they'll be going to school on their potential opponents given there'll be a grand final spot on the line.
He said the week off had come at the perfect time, allowing them to get their bodies right.
Joe Tapine missed three weeks with a rib injury, while Nick Cotric is recovering from a stray boot to the face that left him with stitches in his nose and lip.
"You have to do your homework. This time of year they're all quality teams and all world-class players," Sezer said.
"We need to rest up and get all the little niggles right, and prepare for the games of our lives back in Canberra."
Storm coach Craig Bellamy credited the Raiders as the more composed side in their thrilling victory over the Storm to earn them that week off.
It's something the Green Machine haven't been accused of in the past.
Sezer admitted that, but said this team was made of sterner stuff.
"I do definitely think our experience and our maturity levels have improved," he said.
"In previous years we might've gone away, but this year our team and the mental fortitude of our team is willing to attack the game and that's what we did.
"I think we got what we deserved."
NRL PRELIMINARY FINAL
September 27: Canberra Raiders v South Sydney or Manly at Canberra Stadium, 7.50pm. Tickets available Monday (members) and Tuesday (general public).