Rugby League


NRL Auckland Nines: Past, present and future of the Canberra Raiders share the field

Exciting Raiders prospect Lachlan Croker can't wait to see how his uncle fares at the Auckland Nines at the ripe old age of 42.

Croker's uncle is, of course, none other than club legend Jason Croker.

"I'm interested to see how it pans out, it's been 10 years now since he last played," Lachlan said.

"I reckon he'll last three minutes before he has to come off."

The past, present and the future of the Raiders will play together for the first time at next weekend's pre-season tournament in New Zealand.


Jason and Lachlan will be joined on the field by Raiders captain Jarrod Croker, who is no relation.

Jason Croker holds the club record for the number of games played with 318 before he retired from the NRL in 2006.

Jarrod is well on his way to breaking that mark, having notched up 164 appearances for the Green Machine at the age of 25.

Then there is Lachlan, a dynamic five-eighth who is touted by many to be a star in the making.

The 20-year-old was a standout in the Raiders' National Youth Competition side last year and is already signed until the end of 2017.

Lachlan knows he will have to bide his time before making his NRL debut playing behind the likes of Blake Austin, Aiden Sezer and Sam Williams.

"They are three incredible footballers and I have no real rush to be in the halves in any capacity just yet," Lachlan said.

"The club's been really good to me.

"I've only played nine under-20s games, so to have the faith they've shown in me they want me around is a good feeling that they care about you and want you there for the future.

"This is home for me, I couldn't be happier and I could 100 per cent stay here the rest of my life."

Jason Croker said he was looking forward to playing alongside Lachlan for the first time.

"That's pretty special," Jason said.

"He's a good kid, he trains hard, he's in a good environment and Ricky [coach Ricky Stuart] is doing a good job with him and he's happy, which is the biggest part of it.

"Who knows what's going to happen this year, he might get a run, you just don't know."

How long the eldest Croker lasts in the fast-paced Nines game remains to be seen.

"I might get on and come straight back off," Jason laughed.

"I'm pretty nervous, but looking forward to going over there with the team and being part of it."

It is Lachlan's second time at the Auckland Nines after having limited opportunities last year.

"I only played three or four minutes and got a free trip to New Zealand, but I learnt you just have to do your job," Lachlan said.

"Whenever you're around the ball, you have to do the thing you're there to do and that's pretty much it.

"You get on and get off and keep rotating to make sure everyone's fresh. As long as you're doing your job the team will be right."