Raiders star Jarrod Croker has been called into the New South Wales squad by Coach Laurie Daley to enable the talented centre to gain experience of life inside the Blues camp; a strong indication that he is well in the frame for selection at some stage in the future.
Croker strangely missed out on selection for Country earlier in the year despite his tremendous attacking form and improved resolve in defence.
Despite the setback, Croker has not let the disappointment faze him and has continued to be a shining light for the Green Machine.
In his 15 games this year, Croker has crossed for 12 slashing tries and slotted 35 goals from 41 attempts.
His all-round game figures are just as impressive; Croker averages 81 metres with ball in hand, 11 well timed tackles on the left edge and has registered six line breaks, 39 tackle breaks and six offloads.
Raiders Captain Terry Campese, a Blues representative in 2009, is thrilled that his ultra-consistent team mate has finally got some form of recognition in the representative arena and has backed Croker to succeed in State of Origin in the not too distant future.
“I’m over the moon for Crokes,” Campese said. “He’s been one of our most consistent players for a number of years now and is one of the best attacking centres in the comp in my opinion.
“He may only be included in the squad to gain experience but it is still one step closer to him realising one of his dream in playing Origin for New South Wales.”
Regardless of whether Croker takes the field or not, Campese says the experience of being a part of the squad will do wonders for his development.
“Similarly with Jack Wighton in Game Two, Croker’s selection in the Blues squad is obviously an indication of how highly he is regarded as a representative prospect and it is a good reward for his impressive performances for the Raiders.
“Being surrounded by the best players in NSW will provide Crokes with a boost in confidence and will help to enhance his development as a player.
“It’s a great reward for Crokes and if something happens to one of the outside backs, I’m confident that he can do a job for the Blues.”
Croker left for the Blues camp in Coffs Harbour last night after being contacted by Raiders Football Manager John Bonasera and will commence training with the side this morning.
With Josh Morris under an injury cloud, there is every chance that Croker could make his Origin debut on Wednesday night.