Games between the Sharks and the Raiders have an intensity that belies whatever position both clubs hold on the ladder or the time of the year they meet.
There is finals intensity whenever these two teams meet, and the origin of this rivalry has an exciting history.
The Sharks beat the Raiders 16-14 in a 2016 qualifying final at GIO Stadium in a particularly brutal encounter where the Raiders led 12-nil before being swamped.
Sharks hooker Michael Ennis incited Raiders fans by mocking the Viking Clap as the players walked around the ground after the siren.
The mimicking gesture lifted the intensity between the two sides to a new level from that moment on.
Further salt was added to the wound a couple of weeks later as the Sharks won their maiden premiership.
For Raiders fans, it simply added another reason to declare that a rivalry with the Sharks existed in the first place.
At the time, Ennis was declared public enemy number one in Canberra. Then, in an ironic twist a number of years later, Ennis was appointed to the Raiders coaching staff.
In 1989 the Raiders eliminated the Sharks in week one of the finals series before Canberra went on to win their maiden premiership.
The 2012 elimination final result added further to the rivalry between the clubs.
At the time, the Raiders’ victory over the Sharks was dominated by a post-match media accusation from Sharks enforcer Paul Gallen, who said he was hit with a “dog shot” by Raiders prop Josh Papali’i.
In 2017, with the Raiders’ season on the line as they prepared to play the Sharks, Papali’i highlighted the rivalry.
“When I’m wearing the green jersey, everyone’s rivals but definitely with Cronulla,” Papali’i told NRL.com.
As it turned out, in Round two in 2017, the Sharks returned to GIO Stadium, inflicting a 42-16 hammering on the Raiders. Again, the Viking Clap was mocked, this time by the Sharks supporters who had descended on Canberra en masse.
Added to the mix is the fact that Ricky Stuart coached the Sharks for 91 games between 2007 and 2010.
There is high physicality when these two clubs meet. Sunday night’s game is expected to be no different with the Raiders seeking their first win of the season.
The Raiders take on the Sharks at GIO Stadium this Sunday. Tickets from Ticketek.