If history counts for anything, Canberra fans – brace yourselves.
Sunday’s NRL clash with cellar-dwellers Newcastle at GIO Stadium marks the seventh time the Raiders have played on the weekend of a federal election in the club’s 34-year history.
But of their previous six, they’ve lost four.
To make matters worse, they’ve never been victorious when the Liberal party has been elected.
The Knights, meanwhile, smashed Parramatta 54-6 on the weekend Tony Abbott won the 2013 election, with then Eels star Joey Leilua – now a mean Raider – scored a double.
But that’s where the good news ends for Nathan Brown’s men, who are on their worst losing streak since 2005 with nine defeats in a row.
For the first time this season, Brown has named an unchanged line-up from the one beaten by St George Illawarra last round – including new recruit and former Raiders youngster Mitch Barnett.
Veteran Sia Soliola (ribs), fullback Jack Wighton (sternum) and hookers Josh Hodgson and Kurt Baptiste (concussion) are all expected to play for the Raiders, who could move up to fifth on the NRL ladder with a win at home.
They’ve won four of their past five matches, including over the Gold Coast last Sunday.
“Last week was a step in the right direction for our team,” said halfback Aidan Sezer.
“I thought we lifted a few things in our game up a notch and we’ll be looking to improve on that this week.”
Sezer and five-eighth Blake Austin have been finding form and confidence in recent rounds after an injury-affected start to the season, especially after switching to a more traditional style in the halves against the Titans.
The Knights clash is the first of three home games in a row for the Raiders, who have won five of seven meetings in the nation’s capital this season.
Newcastle have only triumphed five times from 23 visits to Canberra.
“It’s going to be cold, it’s going to be hard, they are a really good team and we haven’t had the best record,” Sione Mata’utia said.
“I think we just have to get our heads around it’s going to be a really cold one.”
STATS THAT MATTER
* The Raiders have only won twice on election weekends from six occasions, in 2010 when Julia Gillard (Labor) was elected and in 1990 when Bob Hawke (Labor) was re-elected.
* The past 11 games between these sides at GIO Stadium have been decided by double figures
* Canberra have scored the most second-half points of any NRL club this season