Canberra Raiders captain, Jarrod Croker, declined to comment on plans to sit out a game in order to preserve his 300th NRL game milestone. The Raiders intend to rest Croker against the Wests Tigers on Friday night, allowing him to achieve the milestone at home against the Warriors next week, regardless of injury verdicts for Sebastian Kris and Jordan Rapana. Raiders forward, Corey Harawira-Naera, is anticipated to miss at least a month as he awaits specialist diagnosis after suffering an on-field seizure. Specialists believe that smaller head knocks may have exacerbated the incident, but officials found no evidence of foul play or significant head contact in the moments leading up to the incident.
Harawira-Naera is reportedly on the mend at home in Canberra with his family, while Raiders medical staff, NRL chief medical officer, Dr Sharron Flahive, and neurologists work to ensure a safe return to play. The Raiders believe that up to three incidents of insignificant contact contributed to the seizure. Meanwhile, Croker has overcome serious injuries, including a career-threatening knee injury and multiple shoulder reconstructions, to reach the brink of his 300th game.
The decision to rest Croker has caused controversy, with some questioning whether the Tigers are being disrespected by his omission. However, Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis reportedly has “no issue” with Canberra’s decision, while both Cooper Cronk and Raiders legend Mal Meninga support the Raiders. CEO Don Furner revealed that Croker refused to discuss plans surrounding his milestone until after game No.299 was complete, insisting that he didn’t want to jinx it. Furner added that the plans to rest Croker have been in place for some time and will also occur later this year, irrespective of injuries.
Furner praised Croker’s longevity and professionalism, stating that nobody deserves 300 NRL games more than him. Despite concerns over injury, the aforementioned missing players, and the absence of Croker, the Raiders aim to forge ahead against the Tigers, with Furner confident that the captain’s milestone game will be a worthy celebration.