Raiders great Terry Campese backs Jarrod Croker to make NRL return ‘as soon as possible’ | The Canberra Times

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Former Raiders star Terry Campese has backed “legend” Jarrod Croker to earn back his spot in the team, even as his rookie competition are turning heads. Dumped. Dropped. These were some of the terms used in news headlines in reaction to Croker being omitted from the Raiders team for round one against the Sharks. But Canberra coach Ricky Stuart said the selection call was simply made to give Croker the best possible shot at overcoming his niggling knee issues. Croker didn’t play for the Raiders’ NSW Cup side at Henson Park on Saturday, either. It points to the veteran’s focus being on the NRL, only nine games short of his milestone 300th appearance. “I wouldn’t look at it as being dropped,” former teammate Campese said. “It’d be more about getting his knee right and his confidence up. He’s an absolute legend of the game and a good fella. “He’ll approach this as a professional and stake his claim to get back in that side as soon as possible.” Stuart named debutant James Schiller and Matt Timoko in the centers for the clash against Cronulla and both earned praise from the post-game coach. Last season’s rookie of the year Timoko delivered the pass back inside to set up Hudson Young for the game -winning try. Schiller, the nephew of Raiders great Brett Mullins, was a bolter when named in the line-up, but the 20-year-old had a solid outing that included a try-saving tackle at the death. Green halfback Brad Schneider also took on the goal-kicking duties usually handled by Croker. “It satisfies me from a personal point of view for the boys,” Stuart said of the youngsters stepping up, particularly impressed by Schiller and Schneider. “Those two boys will never forget that game, especially the involvement they both had – James with that tackle at the end and Brad kicking four-from-four, being pushed into a very experienced team at halfback.” Sebastian Kris, 22, is another Canberra center waiting in the wings, but was unavailable for selection for the season-opener being on the club’s COVID isolation list. Campese said it was an “exciting time for the Raiders”, with youth providing great depth in the squad. But he believed Croker would be hard to look past when he was ready to come back. “In my eyes he’s a great player. He adds so much,” Campese said. “His leadership is second to none, and also his goal-kicking. It won’t be long before you see him back in there.” Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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