Blake Austin is one of three players poised to play their final home game before departing Canberra.Attempting to send off departing players on a high is motivating Canberra before their NRL clash with South Sydney.
The Raiders will miss the finals for a second straight season after a rollercoaster campaign that has seen them lose seven games by less than six points.
Leaving the nation’s capital at the end of the season are five-eighth Blake Austin, and forwards Shannon Boyd and Junior Paulo.
That trio were a key part of the Raiders’ team that came within two points of making the 2016 grand final.
Saturday’s match with the Rabbitohs at GIO Stadium will be the Canberra’s last at home in 2018, with their final round across the ditch to face the Warriors.
Halfback Sam Williams said Austin could be proud of the legacy he’s left at the Raiders.
“It’s never nice to see players leave the club and Blake’s had a real impact within the Raiders and the group we’ve got here,” Williams said.
“The energy that Blake’s brought the last few seasons gives the boys a lift.
“As a group going forward we’ll take a leaf out of Blake’s book and try and find that energy ourselves.”
Facing the Rabbitohs will bring about a battle of the NRL’s two best attacking sides.
The Raiders have scored the most points in the competition (523), holding a narrow gap on Souths (519).
If Ricky Stuart’s side keeps that advantage they will become the first team in NSWRL/NRL history to top the points for table and miss the finals.
Stuart will enter his sixth season as Raiders coach next year, having been at the helm for 124 matches.
He will pass John Lang for ninth most games coached in the NRL early in 2019 – after previous stints at Sydney Roosters, Cronulla and Parramatta – and is the only mentor in the top 15 to have a winning percentage less than 50.