Turning point: How Tapine became part of Raiders folklore

Joe Tapine admits he wasn't necessarily trying to alter the court of Canberra's season with his tackle in the 77th minute on  Josh Addo-Carr, but that's exactly what he managed to do.

While Joey Leilua and John Bateman rightfully got much of the credit for the play that edged the Raiders in front against the Storm, it was Tapine's tackle which tipped the scales in their favour.

"To be honest I was just trying to do my job and get through the game, there wasn't long left and I was getting pretty gassed," Tapine said.

"He just spun off and the ball popped out, I saw BJ had the ball and I was pretty confident he'd do something, he's a special player so when I saw the flick pass I just cheered.

"I've been with BJ since Newcastle and I'm good mates with him and he's not shy of showing his talent so I'm just glad he's on our team."

The good news kept coming for Tapine after he took the early guilty plea after being placed in report for a dangerous contact charge on Melbourne utility Brandon Smith.

Tapine admitted to being "a bit nervous" after the Storm clash as his previous record at the judiciary meant he was a chance of missing the Raiders' home preliminary final in week three of the finals.

Having got through 69 minutes on the back of a rib injury and the threat of another suspension behind him, the New Zealand international said he can focus now on the task ahead.

"I was a bit scared not having played three weeks going into the (Storm) game, so I had to clear the lungs out and I was pretty relieved I got through the minutes I did," he said.

"The last two years have been pretty frustrating for me with injury and suspension but there's no way I would miss a final, it's getting to the business end now so can't wait.

"I was pretty sore throughout the game and the first contact was a bit of a shock but after that I got used to the pain.

"I was pushing to play against the Warriors (in round 25) so I'll play with pain."

Aidan Sezer's form through the finals has been another key reason why the Raiders are 80 minutes away from the grand final.

Like many of the club's senior players, he doesn't have to think too hard to remember the pain of losing to Melbourne in the preliminary final in 2016.

Now with the chance to exorcise some of those demons at GIO Stadium against either South Sydney or Manly, Sezer knows it'll be their work without the ball that gets them to the last game of the season.

"They're both different, we had a different style of game and as you saw on the weekend we're willing to grind out the full 80 (minutes) and back our defence," Sezer said of the 2016 Raiders compared to now.

"So, it's a different team but the same lime green jersey."

"You can draw on the experience and learn on when to stay composed, that's what we've been doing and that's what's got us to this point in the season.

"But we'll be coming up against a quality opposition and both teams will have a big prize at the end of it."

Rather than rest on their laurels, Sezer said the Raiders will work just as hard this week in a bid to find new heights.  

"There's still plenty to work on, obviously it wasn't clinical on the weekend, but we got the win and that's all that matters," he said.

"There's always things for us to improve on and we'll watch the two teams closely and we'll do our homework."

 

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