All Stars a leadership boost for Croker
Jarrod Croker is spending the All Stars week learning from the best as he continues to develop his captaincy role and leadership skills at the Canberra Raiders.
Canberra's youngest ever captain has the opportunity this week to play in a World All Stars team that features the likes of Australian Kangaroos and Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith, as well as Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs skipper James Graham.
Those two alone have a combined 612 first-grade club games behind them, and their experience is an aspect of the All Stars week that is not lost on Croker has he continues to try and become an inspirational leader for a Canberra side on the rise.
The week will culminate on Saturday with the Harvey Normal All Stars fixture taking place at Suncorp Stadium.
Croker says he is going to enjoy the experience and make the most of every day in camp.
"It's been a really good experience so far," said Croker.
"It may have only been a few days but even at training this morning you can see how much those boys keep the talk up.
"Cameron Smith and I are pretty similar – we are both laid back sort of blokes so that helps a lot.
"There are plenty of leaders around the whole joint so it has been good for me to kind of sit back and soak it all up.
"I loved my first year of captaincy in 2015 – the role of captain and just the whole job. I still love it and I think I went okay but I definitely enjoyed it.
"Obviously I think I can keep getting better so weeks like this really help that. Hopefully I just keep getting better and keep learning.
"I haven't played at Suncorp Stadium since about 2012 so it's really good to be back up here and hopefully we get a good crowd on Saturday night."
Named Raiders captain in early 2015 at just 24-years-old, it has been a quick coming of age for the now 25-year-old Croker.
Leading Canberra to a respectable 10th placed finish in 2015 – finals are the next logical step on the young skipper's journey.
The 2016 season could be quite a memorable one for Croker as finals and a point-scoring record loom.
The star centre is now just 90 points away from overtaking David Furner as the club's highest points scorer
The proud skipper is optimistic about what the year will bring his way.
"It means everything to me to captain Canberra. I can't imagine not being the skipper down there," said Croker.
"Hopefully I get better at it and my game keeps improving with it.
"With the roster we've got now anything is possible this year.
"I'm just looking forward to the start of the season – hopefully we get a couple of good wins early on and we'll keep going from there."