NATIONAL YOUTH CUP
St George Illawarra's under 20s side has shaped its season on a do-or-die ultimatum.
So it's with no great surprise the team is approaching tonight's grand final qualifier with a calm attitude, and not letting the pressure get to them.
The Dragons, who at one point of the season were regarded as contenders for the wooden spoon, continue to turn heads in the ultra-competitive NYC category.
First they scraped their way into the top eight, then they toppled fifth-placed Penrith and minor premiers Canterbury.
Tonight, the Dragons can move closer to premiership glory if they beat Canberra at ANZ Stadium.
But even with that in mind, coach Justin Holbrook said the pressure of finals football had yet to find its mark on his side.
"We've been playing well for the whole second half of the year and in the high-pressure games just to make the eight," he said.
"We're used to those pressure times out on the field and I think that's what's helping us."
Holbrook has masterminded the Dragons turnaround from 12th-place finishers in last year's series to premiership aspirants.
It's been an astonishing transformation, but the former Bulldogs NSW Cup mentor said he didn't need to remind the players what they were capable of.
"You just keep preparing like you've done most weeks and you don't change too much," Holbrook said.
"You don't get the guys to change what they've done on the field, and that's what's got us to this position, so that's what we've got to continue with.
"Everyone knows that if you don't win, you don't continue, and that becomes second-nature.
"We just worry about playing our game and I think we're playing really well, so we'll just worry about that."
The Raiders, who finished third during the regular season, are no easy-beats.
They beat competition heavyweights New Zealand Warriors to qualify straight through to tonight's game, and have been a dominant force this season.
However, the Dragons boast an upper hand from the last time the two sides met, getting a tight two-point win back in round 17.
"They're a good side across the park. They've got good halves, a couple of big forwards and a couple of good back-rowers," Holbrook said.
"We don't try too hard, we've just got to do our job.
"That's working at the moment, and we'll continue with that."