Jarrod Croker on the cusp of history
Having tallied a competition-leading 56 points through the first five rounds of the NRL Telstra Premiership, Jarrod Croker is within touching distance of a Canberra Raiders record that has stood for 16 years.
Croker has scored 1,184 points from 169 first-grade appearances, and is just 35 points away from breaking David Furner's club record of 1,218 set between 1992-2000.
Based on his start to 2016, Croker could surpass that mark against the Wests Tigers in Round 9, but according to the Raiders skipper, it's something that rarely crosses his mind.
"Only when you blokes say it to me every week," Croker joked after Monday's 14-point win over the Bulldogs.
"Honestly, I don't even think about it. I just worry about going out and playing well. Every time I put the ball on the tee I want to kick it. It's good to knock a few over, and if it happens, it happens."
While he's happy to put it at the back of his mind for now, Croker admits breaking Furner's record is something that will mean a lot to him when he looks back at his career with the Green Machine.
"He [Furner] was a great player for the club and he had a lot to do with my career as well when I was coming up through the junior ranks," he said.
"I'm trying not to take it for granted, but it's probably something I'll reflect on in a couple years' time."
The Raiders centre scored two tries and kicked five goals in an 18-point haul against the Bulldogs, but Croker says it wasn't a plan to target Canterbury's right-side defence.
"We've got attack all over the field, so we didn't single one side of the field," Croker told NRL.com.
"It was good to get a bit of space, but once the wet weather came, it sort of turned into a bit of a slugfest. There was no attacking plan to target one side, that's for sure."
The Raiders skipper paid special tribute to teammate Josh Papalii, whose barnstorming runs created plenty of space for the backs on the left edge, and led directly to Croker's first try on the night.
"He's playing as well as I've seen him, 'Big Papa'," Croker said.
"He's as fit as I've seen him and as trim as I've seen him. He's really playing well and he's one of our leaders now. He's in the leadership group, and he's definitely leading by example."
Monday night's win propelled the Raiders into the competition's top four, just one point behind the Storm and Broncos, but Croker says it will count for little if they can't replicate that form when they face the Eels on Saturday afternoon.
"It was a good win, but we need to keep a lid on it and move forward to next week. We have a short turnaround and Parramatta is playing really well," the 25-year-old said.
"I'm just happy with the win to tell you the truth, but we need to keep chipping away. I'm really happy with the way the boys dug in tonight. We had some really good line speed, and like I said, it's all about backing it up now."
This article first appeared on NRL.com