The Raiders aren’t short of support for Sunday’s big match.
The Raiders aren’t short of support for Sunday’s big match.

Sydney deserts Roosters for new kids on the block

They have Sydney in their name but the Harbour City has turned its back on the mighty Sydney Roosters.

Underdogs Canberra have become the undisputed people's team ahead of the more fancied Roosters for Sunday night's NRL grand final at ANZ Stadium.

A Daily Telegraph poll revealed just one in three fans who don't have a club in the grand final are cheering on the Roosters as the Bondi club chases back-to-back titles. More than 77 per cent of the 3400 respondents said they would be cheering for Canberra.

Roosters players embrace being hated and enjoy an "us against them" mentality.

While the Roosters offer up no obvious villains, non-Roosters rugby league fans have long taken a set against the club.

And having a new, fresh and energetic Raiders side in the grand final will only increase support for the underdogs.

"It's great for the game and great for the Raiders to see someone new there," said Canberra legend, Mal Meninga.

"It has been the same old faces really so it's fantastic from the game's point of view that the Raiders are there."

Around 20,000 tickets for the grand final were sold over the weekend - 14,000 after Friday night's game between Canberra and South Sydney.

Ricky Stuart says people appreciate the ‘type of footy we play.’
Ricky Stuart says people appreciate the ‘type of footy we play.’

One senior rugby league official didn't dodge the issue.

"If you're raised in Sydney, you're basically told from a young age to love your side but hate most of the others," he said.

"There is still a lot of tribalism and passion among the Sydney fans. Manly were hated during the 1970s and 1980s. A lot dislike Souths too. But the Roosters are probably the Sydney club most fans love to hate in this era."

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said his side's open playing style was only attracting support.

"I think people appreciate the style of footy we play," Stuart said.

"The Roosters are a wonderfully professional organisation who have been successful for many, many years and probably look at us as though we're the underdogs. I want the players to enjoy and embrace the whole week. I think it's really important to understand the moment, appreciate the achievement and prepare professionally."

 

The Roosters will start as favourites for the decider.
The Roosters will start as favourites for the decider.

The Daily Telegraph reader's poll published last month had the Roosters as the third-most disliked side behind Melbourne and Manly.

Only one per cent voted for Canberra.

Roosters chairman Nick Politis just last week claimed fans of rival teams were "jealous" of the Roosters' sustained success.

 

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