History counts for little: Croker
His side will enter the finals series on the back of a 10-game winning streak, but Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker says past form will count for little when they take on the Sharks in Canberra on Saturday night.
The Raiders leapfrogged the Sharks into second spot on the Telstra Premiership ladder with a 52-10 win over the Wests Tigers, while Cronulla were soundly defeated by the Storm in Melbourne to not only drop a place, but also miss out on their first minor premiership since 1999.
The sides have met twice in 2016 with the ledger locked at one win apiece, but according to Croker, history won't matter come kick-off.
It was a one-sided affair when they met in the nation's capital with the Sharks running out convincing 40-16 victors before the Green machine exacted revenge with a dominant 16-point win in the Shire a month ago.
"We won't take anything out of that or the game a couple of weeks ago," Croker said when asked about the Round 22 match.
"It's a clean slate and everyone starts fresh. We don't want to look too far back at that sort of stuff."
It was a similar response when quizzed about the Round 7 result in Canberra.
"They're tough and they're physical, but even that game you don't want to read too much into that because finals is a completely different game of footy," he said.
"Every side starts fresh and it's a new competition. We're not going to look too much into that game and [instead] we're just going to look forward and control what we can."
The competition's leading points-scorer also refused to draw any comparisons from this weekend's game and the 2012 elimination final in Canberra four years ago when the Raiders won 34-16.
"I had three metal plates in my face [courtesy of a fractured cheekbone that day]. Both sides have completely different rosters and it's been a long time," he said.
That match was the last time the Raiders won at home against the Sharks, but don't expect the black, white and blue to have it all their own way as they attempt to extend their three-game winning streak in Canberra.
It'll be standing room only at GIO Stadium for the qualifying final, and Croker said the home-crowd support would give his side an extra leg.
"We said at the start of the year when there were 8,000 people there [how much they mean to us]," he said.
"The fans that we have are there whether it's freezing cold or like the first game where it was 35 degrees – and another where it was three degrees – so rain, hail or shine they've been there for us.
"It's good for the fans that we've got the home semi because they deserve it and the community deserves it. Canberra has been right behind us the whole way so it's good to see them get paid back with a home semi."