Green Machine braced for emotional road trip
Canberra centre Michael Oldfield said the side will try and keep a lid on emotions this week as they prepare to farewell three of their stars in Auckland on Friday.
Shannon Boyd (Titans), Junior Paulo (Eels) and Blake Austin (Warrington) will end the year having played 245 games combined for the Green Machine.
Boyd addressed the team after their win over South Sydney last Saturday and the atmosphere leading into the clash with the Warriors this Friday is sure to be emotionally charged.
"I think it's starting to hit home, today's going to be our last field session together in Canberra, so I don't know if they're thinking about it now, but I already am," Oldfield said.
"It's very sad and we've got the whole weekend to shed a few tears together, so I'm looking forward to it."
Paulo is hoping to feed off the emotion as he takes aim at a Warriors pack readying itself for a deep run into the finals.
"I'm actually excited, it's been an emotional lead-up to the game so I'm trying to not let those emotions get in the way," Paulo said.
"For them to make the win (in Canberra last week) about us was something quite special and it'll be a memory I'll cherish forever.
"I guess in the back of my mind is the fact I'll be leaving Canberra and I've been able to call it home for the past three years."
Incredibly, the Raiders are a chance of finishing with the best attacking record in the Telstra Premiership this season but they will be watching the finals from the sidelines.
Close losses have killed Canberra's chances of being one of the dark horses for the title, including their one-point loss to the Warriors in round three.
"I've always known we've been able to score a lot of points, it's more about keeping the points out that we've had trouble with and that's why we're not in the finals," rep forward Josh Papalii said.
"That's probably the most disappointing thing about not being in the finals - the best attacking team's not going to be there.
"The tight games that we should have won but didn't, that's why we're not there.
Oldfield has impressed this season with the Raiders, having received an extended run in the NRL due to injury, scoring six tries in seven games.
The 27-year-old centre said there has not been any magic formula to their late surge which has seen them beat the Roosters and Rabbitohs in consecutive weeks.
"I think it's just learning what creates consistency in our game. The last two weeks we haven't done anything special, we've just played a simple brand of football," Oldfield said.
"We just played for each other and found a bit of hunger and I know it's too late, but it just shows it doesn't take much to get us ticking.
"When we can find some consistency, we know what we're capable of."