Canberra Raiders centre Jarrod Croker is intent on keeping his remarkable ironman record intact and overcoming a knee injury in time for the start of the NRL season.
Croker will miss the rest of Canberra's trial games - including Saturday night's match with NSW Cup teams Mounties and Wyong - after having surgery for a medial ligament strain in his right knee in last week's 40-8 win against the Melbourne Storm in Geelong.
While he is in doubt for the first two rounds of the competition, the 22-year-old goal-kicking three-quarter isn't giving up hope on proving his fitness for the season opener with the Penrith Panthers on March 10.
''It's very disappointing, but I'm going to do everything I can to make sure I'm ready to be picked for round one,'' Croker said.
''Like I said to the physio yesterday it wasn't that painful, which hopefully means it's going to be a quicker recovery.
''The diagnosis is three or four weeks, so I'll do everything I can physio-wise and rehab-wise to be ready for round one.''
The 22-year-old Goulburn junior is not used to spending time on the sidelines.
Croker has featured in 95 of a possible 97 games since making his first-grade debut in 2009.
He made 63 consecutive appearances before a back injury forced him out of the round 19 match with the Brisbane Broncos in 2011, while a facial injury ruled him out of last year's semi-final loss to South Sydney.
Young gun Jack Wighton was his replacement on that night, and his impressive cameo for the Indigenous All Stars last weekend suggests he would be the front-runner if Croker isn't fit in time.
''I want to be there and I'm confident I'm there for round one, but if I do miss it then I'm confident Jacko or Edrick Lee will be fine,'' Croker said.
''Jacko would've been nervous at the All Stars, but once he got on the field he handled himself pretty well. He never gets overawed by the occasion, so I wasn't surprised at all that he played well.''
Croker's injury means he won't line up alongside winger Reece Robinson before the start of the season.
The pair formed a solid defensive combination down the left flank at the end of last year while they also proved a handful in attack, Robinson showing with a hat-trick for the Indigenous All Stars he has hit the ground running in 2013.
''He didn't get as much as the accolades as Ben Barba for scoring three, but that's just Reece. He flies under the radar and has been killing it in the pre-season. It shows how valuable he is to the Raiders,'' Croker said.