Chris Wilson June 27, 2012
Blake Ferguson of the Raiders runs the ball during the round 16 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Canberra Raiders at Dairy Farmers Stadium on June 23, 2012 in Townsville, Australia. Photo: Getty Images
He's played for both clubs and Simon Woolford says it's not a myth - Canberra's curse over the Dragons is very real.
Woolford has given an insight into Canberra's haunting record over the Dragons, claiming St George Illawarra players have traditionally been spooked by the contest and have ''talked themselves into being beaten''.
The Dragons have named three former Raiders players for Monday night's clash - Daniel Vidot, Josh Miller and Bronx Goodwin - and they will travel by bus on the day of the game as they search for answers to arrest the long losing streak against Canberra.
The Raiders have won 12 of their past 13 matches against the Dragons and haven't lost to them at home since 2000.
Woolford finished his career at the Dragons and played in their last win against Canberra, in Wollongong in in 2007. But he revealed Dragons players were mentally scarred by Canberra's decade of dominance.
''I think they talked themselves into being beaten by the Raiders most of the time,'' Woolford said. ''They're well aware of the lack of success they've had against Canberra, especially down here [in the ACT] and how they can never beat them. They used to often joke about having the bye that weekend and not even bothering coming down.
''Every time [the Dragons] would come up against the Raiders it was always that sort of talk, it's certainly something they think about a lot.
''I often joked about it, but deep down it's not a joke to them. It quite annoys them that they can't win down here. It's something they've always wanted to fix but they've never been able to.''
The Dragons have the odds stacked in their favour this week.
It's understood Dragons coach Steve Price has decided to travel to Canberra on the day of the match, replicating what has been successful for him as a Dragons coach in the lower grades.
Although they will be missing State of Origin stars Ben Creagh, Trent Merrin, Brett Morris and Beau Scott, the Dragons face an injury-depleted Raiders outfit terribly out of form.
The Raiders have also lost strike weapon Josh Dugan for two to three weeks to an ankle injury.
Dugan scored the winning try in the dying seconds last year when the Dragons capitulated 24-19, having led 18-6 at half-time.
''Last year they did everything but win, the way they got beaten down here last year was ridiculous,'' Woolford said. ''But they found a way to lose it and the Raiders found a way to win. It's an amazing monkey on the Dragons' back, that's for sure.
''The more times you beat a team the more confidence you get and the more invincible you feel against them. There's certainly a bit of that as far as these two teams go.''
But Woolford, who works as a consultant coach with Canberra's hookers, said Monday's contest was a ''toss of the coin''.
He urged the Raiders to ditch any negative thoughts about their growing injury list.
''They're still capable of winning more games than they lose, but it's what players are thinking and what attitude they're bringing to the table,'' Woolford said.