Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker’s Australian bid in doubt as he battles knee injury

by admin on July 22nd, 2018

filed under 南京夜网

Canberra Raiders’ skipper Jarrod Croker’s Australian Kangaroos ambitions hinge on the results of a scan on his knee as the inspirational leader fights to prove he is fit for international duties.
Nanjing Night Net

Five Raiders are set to join the Kangaroos’ train-on squad next week in a bid to impress coach Mal Meninga to earn selection for the Test against New Zealand on October 15.

Croker looms as an unlikely starter after scans on Friday and wearing a knee brace for the past week while Joey Leilua’s partner, Tiana Faapoi, is expected to give birth to the pair’s first child in the same week as the Test.

Former Raiders captain Alan Tongue lauded Croker as one of the best in the NRL this year and said it would be “absolutely devastating” if his Test hopes were crushed by a medial ligament injury.

Croker is back in the Kangaroos’ squad for the first time since 2010 and was one of the form centres in the competition as he spearheaded Canberra’s best season in 21 years.

“It would be absolutely devastating if injury pops up now and stops him playing,” Tongue said.

“That’s not saying he won’t be able to get back there in the future. But you’ve got to make the most here and now and Crokes absolutely deserves a spot in that Kangaroos team.

“The way he has played right from his first day in the NRL, there’s not too much between his best and worst. He’s Mr Consistent, he scores tries, kicks pressure goals and is the one who steps up when they need him most.

“I think Mal’s going to pick the side on form, and if there are Raiders in there he won’t be taking a risk. They will have deserved their spots.”

The Raiders have been starved of international representatives in the past 10 years, with only five Green Machine players – Terry Campese, Joel Monaghan, David Shillington, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs and Josh Papalii – earning Test caps since 2008.

Tongue believes the new generation Raiders have changed the perception of rugby league in Canberra and have played well enough to warrant Test jerseys.

Croker fell just four points short of the 300-point milestone when his knee injury prevented him from kicking goals in the Raiders’ heartbreaking preliminary final loss last weekend.

Croker and the Raiders gathered on Friday for their final review of the season before being sent on holidays to recuperate following their best campaign in 21 years.

The Raiders’ representative influx is an indication of the squad’s turnaround in the past 12 months.

The Raiders started the year with only three players boasting State of Origin or international experience. They now have five in the Australian squad, two in the New Zealand team and two in England’s squad.

Croker has played two games for the Prime Minister’s XII as well as the NRL All Stars and NSW Country.

However, the NRL’s top point scorer this year and the most prolific scorer in Raiders history is still waiting for a NSW State of Origin call-up or Australian jersey.

Croker was honoured as the NRL’s captain of the year at the Dally M awards on Monday night and winger Jordan Rapana said it was an indication of the respect he had earned.

“I was stoked for Crokes and for [coach of the year] Ricky [Stuart],” Rapana said.

“Those sorts of awards don’t lie and I’m so happy for them because you see all of the hard work that they’re putting in.

“They’ve been the most consistent in those areas … and they deserve every accolade they get. It shows that the club is going in the right direction.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments are closed.