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Shoulder injury mars Croker’s NRL return

Canberra champion Jarrod Croker will head for scans on his shoulder after suffering a potentially serious injury in his return to NRL action.

In a genuine act of desperation, the 31-year-old hurt his shoulder diving to prevent a try in the 76th minute on Friday night as his side clung to a lead in their 14-4 win against Canterbury.

Co-captain Croker said the injury was perhaps better than first feared.

“It feels all right … it did feel like it was out, but once I laid down the doc sort of straightened it, pulled it and played around,” he told reporters.

“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.”

Croker remained down for a number of minutes, creating a tense atmosphere that had Raiders fans at GIO Stadium fearing they might be seeing the last of the club legend in action.

He took to the field for the 292nd time in the NRL after spending the first eight rounds of the year playing NSW Cup having had knee surgery in the off-season.

Playing at his home stadium at long last, Croker said the experience was everything he’d hoped for.

“Unreal … long time coming and missing a lot of games, initially at the start of this year not being able to play, and in the back-end of last year obviously being in Queensland,” he said.

“It’s probably been over 12 months since I’ve played in front of a packed house.

“I knew it was gonna be good week, a good lead-up with old boys week … you knew it was gonna be emotional and it’s really good to get the two points.”

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