Canberra Raiders co-captain Jarrod Croker has played down fears over his injured shoulder but will need scans to discover the full extent of the damage.
Croker was back in the Raiders side that took on the Bulldogs on Friday night. And he put in a fine performance during the 14-4 win before suffering the injury late in the game.
The 31-year-old damaged his shoulder when diving to prevent a try in the 76th minute. Croker was down on the turf for a number of minutes, sparking fears it was a serious one.
There were still concerns as he left the field using his jersey as a makeshift sling. Croker had not played in the opening eight rounds of the season. He built up his fitness in the NSW Cup after recovering from a knee injury.
Canberra Raiders wait on Croker scans
Now there will be an anxious wait to see the extent of this latest setback. At least he sounded positive when interviewed straight after the game.
“It feels all right, it did feel like it was out,” he said. “But once I laid down the doc sort of straightened it, pulled it and played around.
“Whether it popped out and slid back in I don’t actually know, or if it’s just rotator cuff – I’m probably just more in shock than anything.
“I got up and walked, I didn’t need the silly little green whistle or anything, I’ve done a few tests and there’s a bit of pain there but I’d say I’d get a scan and find out.”
Meanwhile fellow Raiders co-captain Elliott Whitehead saluted the return of Croker . He said the influential star had been inspirational throughout the win over the Bulldogs.
“Jarrod never let anyone down, he always brings his leadership skills, having him alongside me really helps me with my leadership as well,” he told reporters.
“Once again, he came in and did his job, I thought he was outstanding and there’s not many people in the 75th minute of a game who worked that hard to get back. It shows what this club means to him and the group as well. To have him back and to play like he did was outstanding.”
Stuart praises Raiders
Coach Ricky Stuart had nothing but praise for his players. They had lost five games on the bounce but their spirit could never be questioned he said.
“We haven’t had a player that hasn’t tried hard over the last five weeks,” he said. “There’s not a club or a squad of players I’d prefer to be coaching and I said that to them pre-game.”