Sharks brace for menacing reception
No one can ever question Michael Ennis's impeccable service out of dummy-half; except when it comes to the hospital pass he delivered his former teammates in last year's finals series.
On a chilly night in the nation's capital, a Sharks side sans Paul Gallen (pre-game withdrawal) and Wade Graham (concussion) rallied from 12 points down to stun the Raiders and earn a crucial week's rest.
Fuelled by emotion, Ennis ran towards the Canberra faithful and performed his version of the 'Viking clap' after the full-time whistle, sparking rabid reactions from Raiders supporters.
The incident prompted Raiders coach Ricky Stuart to call Ennis "disrespectful" and the moment "offensive", while social media and former players were divided on just how big an issue it actually was.
Last year's events have added extra spice to this Saturday's clash at GIO Stadium, but Sharks halfback Chad Townsend says there will be no repeat of what went down, with his side more focused on claiming the two competition points.
"While he probably would have liked his time again and probably made an error in judgement, for us as teammates we're there to support him if he's made the right or wrong decision. Moving forward we put that behind us pretty quickly," Townsend said.
"I don't think you'll be seeing any of that [on Saturday]. It's a good thing for them that gets their fans involved, but I'm not going to say anything more on that.
"The games between us and Canberra have been pretty close lately. We played some big games against each other towards the backend of last year. We're expecting a tough game because they're a really good footy team.
"They've got a really good footy side that likes to attack a lot so our defence needs to be on song. If we can put a good defensive performance in then I'm confident we'll score enough points to win the game."
Raiders five-eighth Blake Austin downplayed the Viking clap controversy, telling media on Tuesday that his side wouldn't use it as motivation.
"I think Michael Ennis hung up the boots last year and I guess it's probably a clean slate now," he said.
"There's no extra motivation for us. It's Round 2 of a long year and we're going to be focused on getting our things a bit more polished than last week."
Just to add extra spice to the evening, Ennis will be covering the game for Fox Sports. But as he told Sterlo, he will perform his media duties from the safety of the commentary box.
"When they asked me I said 'I can't do the sidelines or I won't get out alive'."