No one is hurting more: Croker

A dejected Ricky Stuart and Jarrod Croker fronted the media post-game after Canberra fell short in a 20-18 golden-point loss against Manly on Friday night.

Croker was involved in a chance early in extra time but the Raiders skipper slipped over in the final charge to the line after the home side had created a three-on-two overlap on the left-edge.

The 26-year-old's sideline conversion for the acrobatic Jordan Rapana try hit the upright, before the Sea Eagles struck back two minutes later with a four-pointer to Tom Trbojevic in a sign the luck at the death was with the visitors.

"No one is hurting more than me but I just have to take it," Croker said post-game.

"I had two chances to win it for the boys but couldn't get through.

"We need to get over it pretty quickly and move forward."

Stuart was quick to defend Croker as the Raiders skipper struggled to put the defeat into words.

"That's where he is as a player and that's why he's emotional now, it's why he's the highest point scorer in the game, because he takes it hard," Stuart said of Croker.

"I don't see it as [the game he's lost], I see it as the [games] he has won for us. There are plenty he's won, and that's what it is in the NRL.

"You know each week you put the boots on that it's going to be tough, the day you think we're going to win today and take a short cut is the day you get a kick in the bum.

"That's just one of those games, we'll win one of those and we will lose more of them, that's just the NRL.

"It's not tough to take, you just get disappointed and the boys are that because everything we talked about during the week happened."

‌Stuart preferred to turn the attention back onto the opposition with Dylan Walker's two misses at penalty goal from close range raising a few eyebrows.

Walker was in the middle of a number of heated exchanges with Raiders players throughout the game including a run-in with Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson after his second miss of the night.

"[Walker] should’ve kicked those two goals, any sort of goal kicker should have kicked them and fortunately for us he didn't," Stuart said.

"It got us back into it and we were unlucky not to score there in extra time.

"I'm not being disrespectful to the young kid, it was fortunate for us, he'll kick the next 10 out of 10 in that spot, we just had a leg up in regards to those misses."

The Sea Eagles outmuscled Canberra's usual dominance around the middle and completed 35 of 38 sets in an impressive display away from home.

"Manly are a tough opposition and Trent Barrett has done a wonderful job in a short space of time, he really has," Stuart said.

"We got what we prepared for, it's very easy for me to sit here and say how proud I am of the boys for a close win like that.

"But I'm just as proud in a close loss, we played extremely well tonight and are growing in departments of our game that nobody else can see except us so it's healthy."

Canberra will look to bounce back when they travel to Sydney for their clash with the Bulldogs next Saturday night.

It will be the first time the Raiders travel to Sydney this year after three away trips in Queensland to start the season.

 

Support the ANZAC Appeal