Canberra Raiders - 13th place
Reasons: On the road again: The Canberra side had yet another shocking season when playing away from home, winning just twice during the season (against the Sharks and the Rabbitohs). In those ten losses away from home they suffered embarrasing losses against the Sharks, the Roosters, the Eels (early in the season of course) and the Warriors. Inconsistency: It cost them becoming a challenging side. In a small period of time they could beat nearly every team in the competition. A week later they would be losing to the cellar dwellars. The Young Guns: If a positive is to come out of the Raiders it's the form of their young guns, such as Justin Carney, Jarrod Croker, Josh Dugan and Daniel Vidot. Even better, the Raiders have managed to retain them all for the next few seasons.
Best Win of the Year: Despite a stunning win over Minor Premiers St George Illawarra near the end of the season, a 56-0 whitewash of the Brisbane Broncos a fortnight earlier signalled a scoreline that hasn't been seen by Raiders fans since the early ninties. Other than being one of the biggest wins in the Raiders history, it was the Broncos worst. Worst Loss of the Year: Early in the season the Raiders were nothing more than a punching bag for an angry Roosters side, losing 28-4. A late Bronson Harrison try however did save the Raiders from being completely whitewashed, but it was just another one of those matches that left the faithful Green Machine supporters wondering.
Statistics The Raiders might be looking out for a new goalkicker, regular Terry Campese shot at just 68% in 2009. The 56-0 thumping of Brisbane was the first time the Raiders kept an opponent scoreless since 2001. The club used 29 players this year, the equal smallest amount since 2003. It was a year of 13's for Canberra. They finished 13th (the 13th different position the club has finished regarding table positions), plus they became the 13th club to score 15,000 points. Terry Campese was the leading Raider in the Dally M tally with 13 points.
2009 Headline "The Green Machine Rise Again" It's not often the Raiders hit the headline for an on-field performance, but the win over Brisbane surely did so.
Odds to win in 2010 $36.00 (Odds courtesy of Betfair)
Where will they finish next year? The young guns have shown they can take Canberra to the top. Whether it will happen in 2010 or not is to be seen, but Raiders fans sure have reason to be excited.