We've done nothing, yet: NRL high-flyers
"We haven't done anything, yet."
It's the five words reverberating around Canberra Raiders headquarters on the eve of their second NRL finals appearance in seven years.
The truth is the Raiders have done plenty this season, transforming their defence from 12th to third-best in the competition in the space of 12 months, which has finally seen them win close games.
But after every gritty win this season, Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has kept his men grounded with a routine reminder that they've achieved nothing, yet.
The Raiders host the Warriors in the final round of the season on Sunday and victory will ensure their second top-four finish in 16 years.
Green Machine veteran Sia Soliola has spent a decade in the NRL but has never played in a grand final and said his coach was on the money.
"Ricky is right and that's the reality of things," Soliola said.
"As good as you feel, you've got to take yourself out of the position you're at and really look at the scope of things from an outside view.
"That's what Ricky and the staff have done really well for us this season. Just knuckling us down and getting the focus back on track."
The Raiders have endured a tough run into finals with top-eight clashes against Sydney Roosters, Melbourne, Manly and Cronulla.
Canberra won two and lost two but they all proved tight and gruelling contests, which Soliola said was the perfect preparation for knockout football.
"The past month is probably the best education we could get for the quality of football we're going to be facing in the finals," Soliola said.
"Last week (Cronulla) was a big one in terms of atmosphere and hostility and handling the emotions. That was a big bonus for us because we were able to pull through adversity."
Soliola said learning to win close games in 2019 has provided the confidence Canberra needs to snap a 25-year premiership drought.
"The best education is experience and getting that full mental and physical experience because that's what gets you through under pressure," Soliola said.
"What confidence does is it creates momentum and you can create a lot of consistency through it as well because it gives you that good foundation.
"When you're getting results, whether it be ugly or pretty, that generates a lot of really good experience and momentum and at the back end of the year you're going to have to call upon it."
© AAP 2019