Raiders make captain's call to give Jarrod Croker leadership help

Canberra Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker says a new co-captaincy partnership with Josh Hodgson can help lift the Green Machine to a new level next year.

Croker and Hodgson will form a tag-team leadership combination in the hope of guiding Canberra back to the finals for the first time since 2016.

Jarrod Croker will have some captaincy help next year. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

Jarrod Croker will have some captaincy help next year. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

Croker has had the job by himself since taking over from Terry Campese in 2015, but the Raiders have fallen flat in the past two seasons and failed to make the play-offs.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart believes the team can benefit by having two leaders in charge, calling on England international Hodgson to help Croker with the workload.

But Canberra coach Ricky Stuart believes the team needs two leaders to force their way back into the NRL's top eight, calling on England international Hodgson to help Croker with the workload.

"I just wanted to take the opportunity to let all of our members and fans know about an important decision we’ve made today for the team and our club," Croker announced on social media.

"Ricky and I have been discussing for a while a way we can strengthen the leadership in the team and we’ve decided to have Josh Hodgson join me as captain of the club."

The Raiders struggled without Hodgson this year after he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament during the World Cup and had a knee reconstruction.

But he made an immediate impact in his return and many believe he was the missing link to the Raiders' finals hopes this year.

Canberra has made the finals just once in Ricky Stuart's five years in charge, making the 2019 a make or break campaign for the Raiders.

"Having two captains gives us the chance to take the team to the next level and we know Josh is an experienced and passionate club man who will give his all to the role," Croker said.

"For me it’s the opportunity to grow as a leader and I could not have anyone better suited to stand beside me than Hodgo.

"I can’t wait to get the season started and I know the squad has been working during the first part of the pre-season."

The Raiders are well versed in adopting the co-captaincy model. David Shillington and Campese did the job together. Croker became a co-captain alongside Josh McCrone when Campese was dumped in 2014.

There were rumours the Raiders were keen to give Hodgson a leadership job at the end of last year, but his knee injury curtailed any plans to promote him to a captaincy role.

The star hooker, who is regarded as one of the best players in the competition, filled in as captain at the end of last season when Croker was out of action with his own knee injury.

This story Raiders make captain's call to give Jarrod Croker leadership help first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.