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Raiders ready to end 23 years of hurt

Panthers are also a good bet

Raiders fans are hoping to celebrate a first title since 1994
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You have to go back to 1994 to find the last time Canberra Raiders were crowned rugby league kings of Australia.

That triumph marked the end of the most illustrious period in the club's history with the Raiders yet to add to the three titles they claimed between 1989 and 1994. However, Canberra's time may have come again.

Since coach Ricky Stuart, who led Sydney Roosters to the NRL crown in 2002, took charge in 2014 the Raiders have improved year-on-year with last season's second-placed finish their best this century. 

The Raiders were narrowly beaten by runners-up Melbourne in the semi-final stage but having added further quality to a squad brimming with points-scoring ability - they scored a league-high 688 points last term - they look capable of ending 23 seasons of hurt. 

Improving Penrith could be the Raiders' likeliest challengers after spending heavily in the off-season. Australia international prop James Tamou is the headline addition to Anthony Griffin's enterprising side.

Champions Cronulla Sharks, 14-1 for back-to-back Grand Final victories, are two-point underdogs for Thursday's season opener with Brisbane Broncos.

Recommendations
Canberra Raiders to win NRL Grand Final
2pts each-way 10-1 Betfred, Betway
Penrith Panthers to win NRL Grand Final
1pt each-way 8-1 general

Since coach Ricky Stuart, who led Sydney Roosters to the NRL crown in 2002, took charge in 2014 the Raiders have improved year-on-year
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