As the Raiders prepare to play the Melbourne Storm on Friday night for a place in the grand final, there is the possibility of history being created. If the Raiders defeat Melbourne in the preliminary final and go on to win the premiership, it will complete an incredible year in Canberra sport.
History will be created, because for the first time the top three Canberra sporting teams – the Raiders, the Brumbies and the UC Caps – would have won championships in the same year.
In March the UC Capitals, led by Kia Nurse, Marianna Tolo, Olivia Epoupa and Kelsey Griffin, won their ninth WNBL title, taking out the grand final series against the Southside Flyers 2-0.
Then in September the Brumbies won the Australian Super Rugby Championship with a 28-23 win over the Queensland Reds, effectively winning their third Super Rugby title.
It could be argued that the Super Rugby premiership this year was different from the victories in 2001 and 2004 against South African and New Zealand teams, but this current Brumbies side deserves every accolade with the final as good as any I have commentated.
And the Wallabies’ performance on the weekend against the All Blacks in Wellington has shown the gap between Australia and New Zealand has narrowed considerably. Also worth noting, the Wallabies starting side had five Brumbies in the starting line-up: White, Banks, Slipper, Samu and Fianga.
Coincidently, prior to this year, the UC Capitals and the Brumbies had never won championships in the same year. The Capitals won their first title in 2000, followed by titles in 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2019 and 2020.
So if the Raiders win the premiership it would cap off an incredible year in Canberra sport.
And there is the possibility that this feat will not be replicated soon because of the truncated WNBL season, which will be played in a hub in North Queensland from 2 November, with the Grand Final on 20 December.
But the Capitals could win back-to-back WNBL championships in the same year, a feat unlikely to take place again given the unique nature of sporting events because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The success of our sporting teams has provided a positive for many in what has been the most stressful of times and I suspect that no other Australian community of our size could boast such achievements.