Raiders focused on here and now
The Raiders may have invested heavily in their future fund with the signing of Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco but try-scoring whiz Jarrod Croker insists the 2014 squad are very much focused on resurrecting their season.
With rumour rife that several other players may follow Tedesco to the nation's capital, Croker is simply concentrating on where the team sits currently as the Raiders gear up to take on the reigning premiers the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Saturday evening.
With just one win from their past four games, Canberra must string together some kind of winning run if they are to keep pace with those teams on the edge of the eight but Croker believes that the pre-Tedesco Raiders have the talent to have an impact in 2014.
"We have the squad to do some damage," Croker said.
"I don't try to look into next year, I'm sure [Tedesco] is worried about playing for the Tigers this year and we have a pretty good fullback there at the moment that's pretty keen to play for the Raiders so that's our focus at the moment.
"We're still a proud club with local juniors. It is hard to attract players to Canberra, it's been well-documented the last couple of years but I'm still more worried about this year."
With the Raiders winning their fourth game of the year against a depleted North Queensland team in convincing 42-12 fashion, the lightning-quick 23-year-old is keen to acquire back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
"We obviously had a nice win there on Sunday but we were keen to put that behind us straight away and we went in and did a bit of work on Monday-Tuesday and had a couple of days off so we've been freshened up a little bit and we'll be ready to go," Croker said.
With the Raiders reshuffling their team before last weekend's game – handing young Mitchell Cornish his long-awaited debut – hooker Glen Buttriss was afforded extra minutes on the paddock, something he hopes to do more of moving forward.
"I was a little bit sore but it was good to play an extra couple of minutes. Hopefully I can get my fitness up a bit more and playing a few more," Buttriss said.
"I'd like to be an [80-minute hooker] but we'll see what happens with the team."
Much like Croker, Buttriss insists that the Raiders are keen to go hammer-and-tong with the Roosters regardless of their big-name status.
"The Roosters are good across the park. They have quick backs and huge forwards and quality halves and a terrific hooker in Jake Friend so we're going to have to be on our game this weekend," Buttriss said.
"[Last weekend's win] gave the team a lot of confidence and hopefully we can take it out again this weekend and have a good game."