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Croker injury sours Raiders’ NRL win

Canberra legend Jarrod Croker will head for scans on Saturday after suffering a shoulder injury in his side’s much-needed 14-4 NRL win against Canterbury.

Croker, 31, impressed in his first outing for the season but appeared to injure his shoulder diving to prevent a try in the 76th minute of Friday night’s clash at GIO Stadium.

The centre was down for a number of minutes before walking from the field, although the injury was perhaps less serious than first expected with Croker remaining with his teammates after the match and not requiring pain relief.

But while a scary moment, Raiders co-captain Elliott Whitehead said his fellow skipper had been inspirational throughout the triumph.

“Jared 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.”

Whitehead scored the opening try as the Raiders snapped their five-game losing streak, while it was 10-0 on 33 minutes when fill-in five-eighth Matt Frawley carved up the Canterbury defence for a delightful try.

Things were looking too good to be true when Croker scored before halftime, and they were as the try was disallowed due to a knock-on.

The 15th-placed Bulldogs (2-7) couldn’t keep control of the football, completing just 52 per cent of their sets and allowing the Raiders 60 per cent of possession and an extra 400m in the first half.

Home fans were fearing another collapse when Bulldogs five-eighth Matt Burton crossed for a try with 20 minutes to play, but Canberra closed the contest out with uncharacteristic composure.

The Raiders had performers across the board with 10 players running for more than 100m, led by Joe Tapine’s 180m.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart said the importance of the win could not be overstated, particularly with such balanced contributions.

“Nobody on the outside understands how hard it is … it’s tough losing a game, losing five in a row when you’re not used to it,” he told reporters.

“We don’t like losing … there’s so much effort in every game and we haven’t been winning.

“We haven’t had a player that hasn’t tried hard over the last five weeks … there’s not a club or a squad of players I’d prefer to be coaching and I said that to them pre-game.”

It was an underwhelming performance from the Bulldogs, looking a shadow of the side that rolled the Sydney Roosters last weekend.

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