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'So easy but so rewarding': Croker nominated for Ken Stephen Medal

Ask Jarrod Croker about his significant off-field work and the Raiders co-captain will typically deflect the praise.

That's Croker - kind, firmly grounded and unfailingly modest, perhaps even a little embarrassed to be singled out for his great deeds.

But for the second consecutive season, the 30-year-old centre has deservingly been nominated by his club for the NRL's prestigious Ken Stephen Medal, proudly brought to you by Your Local Club.

"A lot of players do this," Croker reiterated while talking with NRL.com about his long list of community endeavours.

He insisted he "can't take all the credit", highlighting the Canberra club, from players to staff, and the "great leaders" around him.

The local junior doesn't require any convincing to help out and engage with the community. It's just a way of life.

Whether delivering wellbeing programs at schools, promoting junior rugby league, doing charity work, going out of his way to record a message or providing signed gear for fans, he genuinely enjoys it.

And he takes time to stop and chat whenever possible.

Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker during a visit to his junior club Goulburn Stockmen for a coaching clinic last month.
Raiders skipper Jarrod Croker during a visit to his junior club Goulburn Stockmen for a coaching clinic last month. ©raiders.com.au

"It's so easy to do but so rewarding," Croker said.

"I'm very excited to do it. It's been hard with COVID, getting around to schools and doing those sorts of things over the past year or two.

"Hopefully, it's winding down so we can get back amongst it again.

Raiders centre Jarrod Croker.
Raiders centre Jarrod Croker. ©NRL Photos

"I've always enjoyed getting around to the schools. I still remember back at my primary school in Goulburn, Laurie Daley and Jason Croker and those guys coming to visit [and] how big it was.

"I enjoyed it from the get-go because, A, I remembered how much I enjoyed it, but, B, it's so easy to go there, answer a few questions and throw the footy around with [kids] for a small period of your time.

"I've been nominated [for the Ken Stephen Medal] before, so I'm very privileged. This award is so special to so many players.

"But there are so many players that do so many good things out amongst the community and within the game.

"It's hard to narrow it down, so to be a part of that [nominee] group is very rewarding.

"I've always said Canberra is like a big country town. And that's why I love it so much, being from just down the road at Goulburn.

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"It's such a widespread community but they come together really well. It's easy to talk to people ... To be voted for this award for something as simple as being around the community I love is very pleasing."

The winner of a fan vote, which will decide one of four Ken Stephen Medal finalists, will earn $3500 for their junior club. The fan vote closes on August 8.

Croker would be delighted to win the prize for the Goulburn Stockmen Juniors, where he is still connected.

"I better get on to everyone around Goulburn to start voting for me so we can get the kids some money," Croker said.

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“I know the people that run the juniors club there now and they’re really good people who really want to see junior footy go well.

"They've got a few strong junior sides [and] to be able to help them out in this way would be fantastic."