Sydney Olympic Stadium thundered as Mal Meninga blew the Viking horn, signalling an end to the Canberra Raiders' 25 year grand final drought.
The Green Machine's clogs began to turn as thousands of Raiders fans stood as one and created a sea of green with their hands held high.
Boom, boom. Simon Tayoun's drum beat twice. Clap. 82,922 fans filled the Olympic Stadium but the sound of the Viking Clap drowned out the slightest hint of Sydney Roosters' faithful. Boom. Boom. Clap. Boom. Boom. Clap.
Boom. Fireworks lit the night sky as Ricky Stuart's men flew out from the tunnel with the heart of the nation beating alongside them.
Meninga stood surrounded by Raiders legends as 'The Mighty Green Machine' blasted throughout the stadium and the Green Army sang along word-for-word.
The Raiders faithful stood strong with the Green Machine as they suffered a 14-8 defeat to the Sydney Roosters on Sunday.
Simon Tayoun continued to hit his drum well beyond the final siren. It beat like a metronome behind crowds cries of support.
"Life is fast and next year will come so quickly," Tayoun said.
"I came to the stadium early and took photos with the fans and they're so happy. There's so much green, it's so special."
Thousands of Raiders faithful rose at the Roosters crow and flew up the Hume Highway clad in Viking helmets, Hawaiian shirts and striped beanies.
Not even a traffic jam on the outskirts of Canberra could dampen their spirits. Fans like Queanbeyan's Tim Darke had been waiting 25 years for a grand final berth and eagerly made the trip to Sydney in the early hours of Sunday morning.
"The 94' grand final was the first rugby league game I watched and I've been a Raiders supporter since," Darke said.
"That's it. I jumped on the bandwagon straight away. When the grand final tickets went online, I went to have 'smoko' five minutes early to make sure I was on the website for their release."
Fans flocked from all corners of the country to witness the Raiders attempt to make rugby league history.
Some, like Queensland's Dennis Jeynes, had spent years travelling across the border to spur on the Green Machine. Some, like his grandson, were children sporting their first Raiders jersey at the biggest match in the club's history.
"We started supporting them when Mal Meninga and all the Queensland boys went to Canberra. It's gone down the generations," Jeynes said.
"They all moved to Canberra, so we started following Canberra. There's a lot of Raiders supporters in Queensland but I've never seen so many green jerseys. It's phenomenal."
Taree's Aiden Wells and Ben Henshaw have followed the Green Machine since their 1989 triumph and traveled down the Pacific Highway with a car full of Raiders merchandise.
Forget beanies, jerseys and flags, the duo sported custom-made green beards sown from woven wool.
Wells granted himself an early-mark from work, packed his beard and traveled six hours down to Canberra for the preliminary final last week, while Henshaw had his first chance to join the Viking Clap at the big dance.
"I think incorporating the Viking Clap and the big horn in the big day just speaks for itself," Wells said.
"It's a spectacle for the NRL and everyone will get involved - even the neutrals. We're certainly the underdogs at the grand final."
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