Croker makes Raiders history in thrilling victory over Sharks

By John Skilbeck 13 June 2019 3
Croker makes Raiders history in thrilling victory over Sharks

Jarrod Croker matched Canberra Raiders' try-scoring record as they fended off a fightback to beat Cronulla Sharks 22-20 on Thursday.

Captain Croker's close-range dart over the Sharks line was his 120th try for the Raiders, putting him on level terms with distant cousin Jason Croker and helping Canberra beat Cronulla at GIO Stadium for the first time in seven years.

The hosts saw a 20-point lead wiped out by the Sharks, before Croker kept his nerve to boot a 63rd-minute penalty and secure a slender victory.

The Sharks went into the match having won six of their last eight NRL fixtures against the Raiders, but this time they were encountering a team who were fresh off thumping Wests Tigers 28-0 last time out.

And the Raiders carried momentum from that success six days previously into this contest, with Aidan Sezer landing the first try in the 10th minute.

Bailey Simonsson plunged over in the left corner for a second soon afterwards and Croker's landmark try arrived in the 24th minute. The centre sprinted through a gap after being passed the ball close to the Sharks line for a simple finish.

Josh Dugan swept over in the right corner to give the Sharks hope in the 29th minute and Josh Morris cut the half-time arrears to 20-8, with Shaun Johnson missing both conversion attempts.

Braden Hamlin-Uele barrelled over under the posts after a powerful run for a third Sharks try five minutes into the second half. This time Johnson nailed the kick, before remarkably Dugan got in again and the New Zealander added the extras to bring the scores level.

Croker nudged the nervy Raiders ahead again with a penalty and, although they lost State of Origin centre Nick Cotric to an ankle injury, they scraped home for a ninth win of the season.

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John Skilbeck