Let the night Canberra played the Gold Coast in Sydney's south with little more than 5000 watching on stand as the night that defined the Raiders.
The Raiders rounded out the NRL's Kogarah Oval double-header with a 20-4 win over the Gold Coast Titans in front of 5119 on Saturday night.
A glance at the scoreboard suggests this game mightn't have been one to reach great heights. But the manual scoreboard in St George can only tell you so much.
The Titans had 53 per cent of the ball but almost nothing to show for it as the Raiders repelled wave after wave of attacking raids in a resilient defensive performance built on character, skill, and plain old-fashioned guts.
A late conversion lifts Jarrod Croker to 2176 career points, level with rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns, equal-fourth on the all-time list. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad ran for 270 metres and broke six tackles.
Josh Papalii started from the bench as a mark of respect to Ryan James, who started in his place against his former club, and led the pack with 193 metres and a try. Ryan Sutton followed with 185 metres in a 64-minute stint.
But could Ricky Stuart rank Nicoll-Klokstad, Papalii and Sutton in order if he was in charge of the Dally M votes? Good luck.
"They were all very special. It was a good effort. It was a big effort after such a huge effort last week when we had a lack of troops and so many middles with the workload they had to cop," Stuart said.
The win temporarily lifts the Raiders into fourth on the competition ladder with only Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's last-gasp effort a week prior standing between Canberra and an undefeated start.
On a weekend that highlighted a widening gulf between the best and the rest, the Raiders' clash with the Titans was seen as a coin flip. It was in stark contrast to Cronulla's 38-point rout of North Queensland to open the double-header.
The Raiders belong with the pack at the top end. The Titans are somewhere in between. Now comes a major test with Penrith, Parramatta and South Sydney among Canberra's next four games.
"You talk about we're playing the better teams now. We've had the Tigers, Sharks, Warriors and these boys tonight," Stuart said.
"Three of those teams had probably eight weeks more preparation than us in regards to a shorter off-season because we went deep into a season, which is what you want.
"Every football team at the start of the year is motivated, more motivated. I pay respect to every football team we're playing against.
"Penrith and Souths went deep into the competition last year and they're going to be very tough, but it has been a tough month for us, whether you're playing Melbourne and the Roosters or the boys we've played.
"It's been a hard slog. You've got to be up to play every week or you're going to get beaten. That's the way you've got to approach each game."
Which is perhaps why Stuart took so much pride in this win against a Titans side finishing without Jamal Fogarty [cork] and Anthony Don [hip flexor], but spearheaded by rampaging prop Tino Fa'asuamaleaui who ran for 201 metres and broke seven tackles.
It was Canberra who struck first with a try fit for the catwalk as Jordan Rapana claimed the spoils of an Elliott Whitehead line break and an astute Jarrod Croker flick pass.
The Titans seemed destined to return serve. First it was Mitch Rein, who lost control of the ball. Then it was Anthony Don, who was twice denied by Jack Wighton and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad's herculean efforts. Not even Fa'asuamaleaui could break the line despite running like a man possessed throughout the opening half.
"Little pieces of efforts like that are massive to end results," Stuart said.
It took 39 minutes but they finally found their man in Corey Thompson on the flank, slicing the deficit to four points at the break in what has been the game of the round to date.
The Titans enjoyed the lion's share of the territory in the opening stages of the second half but again struggled to land a killer blow. So when Canberra got their shot, they made it count like a Tim Tszyu body shot in the fifth round.
"It was a bit of a shambles all round," Gold Coast coach Justin Holbrook said.
"Tonight, out of the three weeks [to date] we missed our chances. That made it a tough night against a good opposition. If we take our chances, we could have won that. We will learn from that."
More good news filtered out of Kippax, where Corey Horsburgh and Corey Harawira-Naera both scored tries and impressed in Canberra's 60-20 demolition of Newtown in the NSW Cup.
AT A GLANCE
NRL round four: CANBERRA RAIDERS 20 (Jordan Rapana, Josh Papalii, Ryan Sutton tries; Jarrod Croker 4 goals) bt GOLD COAST TITANS 4 (Corey Thompson try) at Kogarah Oval. Crowd: 5119.