At last week's preliminary final, Jarrod Croker took time after the game to personally thank Patty for his support. Jarrod didn't know at the time, but Patty is a life long Raiders fan.
Jarrod saw that he was unable to come down to greet him at the fence, so he headed into the stands to see Patty and give him his playing shorts.
We received this letter to Raiders HQ this week from Patty's sister Grace to thank Jarrod.
Dear Don Furner & Jarrod Croker,
Our family want to express a heartfelt thank you to the club, in particular to Jarrod Croker.
We were at the Raiders vs. Storm first semi-final last Saturday. It was a great game and became very special when Jarrod took time to greet us in the stadium after the game.
Our family are long time Canberra Raiders supporters – my brothers and I grew up with the dream team of the late 80’s-90’s. My youngest brother, Patrick (who Jarrod greeted on Saturday) who has complicated disabilities, is a former member and has been attending Raiders games his whole life. Rugby league has always been an interest of his, and it has been his place of community engagement for decades.
In his younger years, despite his disabilities Patrick played for the North Canberra Bears. In 2001 Patrick traveled to Auckland to watch the Raiders play the Warriors. As an adult, and as Patty’s disabilities increased in complexity, Raiders games at Bruce Stadium were the place where Patrick found community. At every Raiders game people would warmly greet Patrick, shake his hand and speak with him.
In 2016 my family made a tough decision for Patty to move to Melbourne, where residential and clinical care were more likely to meet his increasingly complicated needs. Mum and Dad have also uprooted from their community of 50+ years to move to Melbourne to be with Patty. My Dad is one of the biggest Raiders fans you will meet and is well known for flaunting his Viking horns in many social settings. Due to the move, Dad and Pat are now now Storm members, as they can’t make the Raiders games in Canberra. But we all know, it is the Raiders who have their heart.
So for Jarrod to take time at the end of a finals game, to say Hi, pose for a photo and give his playing shorts to Patty, meant more than I am sure he is aware. We want him to know of our gratitude for such a simple but very meaningful gesture.
PS. I’m the one who ran to Jarrod and asked him if he could wait for my brother to come say Hi. I didn’t at all expect that he would run up the grandstand to meet him. Our entire family and many of our friends in Canberra are so thrilled that Patty (and Dad who is Patrick’s best friend) had opportunity to meet such a stellar player. Sincere and heartfelt thanks.