Canberra Raiders co-captain Jarrod Croker has rubbished suggestions that the club will tumble down the NRL ladder after the injury to star hooker Josh Hodgson.
Hodgson suffered a season ending ACL rupture during the Raiders loss to the Melbourne Storm on Saturday, while Bailey Simonsson could be out for up to four months with a shoulder injury, with Croker admitting that he had never seen his side look so depleted.
“We’ve obviously had some injures in the past but I don’t remember it being this bad,” he said.
“Losing three of our middles over the last couple of weeks and then to lose Hodgo in there on the weekend and then Bailey as well, it’s a bit compounding at the moment.”
However, despite the loss of Hodgson and Simonsson, Croker was optimistic about the remainder of the Raiders’ season.
“It’s not all doom and gloom, we’re still in the top eight, there’s still a lot of footy to be played,” he said.
“We’ll bounce back we’ll get out of this little rut we’re in and I’ll make sure the boys have plenty of energy and enthusiasm and I know they will.
“Whichever 17 is on that field, we’ll be ready to go.
Hodgson is the 12th NRL player to need surgery for an ACL injury this NRL season, and Croker admitted that something seemed amiss with the recurring injury to players this year.
“That’s way too many isn’t it, 12 ACL’s is pretty incredible,” he said.
“On top of that there’s been a lot of season ending injuries, not just ACL’s, so there’s certainly something going on there, but what it is I don’t know.
“I do feel bad for those blokes it’s a tough injury and obviously seeing Hodgo go through it before, it’s very tough for him, so look it’s very disappointing.”
There’s not a lot of time to rally the troops after Hodgson’s injury, with a Grand Final rematch against the Sydney Roosters on the horizon for the wounded Raiders.
It will be the first time they meet since the Roosters ruined the Raiders chances of ending a near three-decade premiership drought.
Croker, who still hasn’t got over the heartbreaking loss, admitted the short turnaround between games will be better for their headspace.
“Less days we have to hear about it the better really,” he said.
“I’m sure it will get hyped up a lot in the media.”