CANBERRA RAIDERS coach David Furner admitted he breathed a sigh of relief after centre Jarrod Croker was cleared of a serious knee injury after Saturday’s 24-12 win over Penrith.
With Canberra’s outside-back depth already stretched to breaking point, Furner’s heart was in his mouth when Croker limped from the field clutching his left knee in the second half.
However, Croker later dismissed it as ”just a stinger” and should be fine to play the Wests Tigers at Campbelltown on Saturday.
An injury to another of their speed men is the last thing the Raiders need after in-form winger Edrick Lee was ruled out for three months with a broken arm earlier this week.
NSW centre Blake Ferguson is already unavailable for next week’s away clash and Jack Wighton is likely to shift back from the wing to centres.
Who takes the vacant position on the flanks is unclear, but Furner was relieved Croker has avoided another stint on the sidelines.
The 22-year-old missed two matches earlier this year because of medial ligament damage in his left knee.
“We’ve already lost a couple of outside backs, I was nervous with ‘Crokes’ coming off,” Furner said.
“He’s just starting to really get back into form and I was pleased with that news.
“It was more of a jarring effect from what I’ve been told.”
Ferguson also experienced a scare when he copped a knock to his left shoulder in the second half, but finished the game without any difficulty.
Starting from the bench, Raiders prop David Shillington did his chances of retaining his Queensland jersey no harm.
Canberra enforcer Josh Papalii may be in line for his first cap after he starred against Penrith with 143 metres, three tackle breaks and 23 tackles.
Queensland will name its side for Origin II on Monday night, and Papalii received support from teammate Dane Tilse, who was one of Canberra’s best.
“I’d be putting him in there. I think they need a bit of strike and he’s got that, in attack and defence,” Tilse said.
“Maybe they need someone a bit more dynamic to turn it up.
“Shillo will probably go into Origin camp, too, so it is a big test without some of our [rep] guys next week.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.