Raiders hungry to go one better: Croker

Canberra captain Jarrod Croker says losing the NRL grand final will motivate the Raiders in 2020.
Canberra captain Jarrod Croker says losing the NRL grand final will motivate the Raiders in 2020.

The NRL grand final disappointment is still there for Canberra captain Jarrod Croker but he's adamant that hurt will spur the Raiders to go one better in 2020.

The Raiders were the feel-good story of 2019 but were edged 14-8 in a controversial grand final loss to the Sydney Roosters.

No-one was hurting more after the defeat than that the Raiders' captain, who made his 257th appearance for the Green Machine in the decider.

"It was disappointing there for the first little bit and we obviously got together and enjoyed each other's company for a couple of days and then went away from it all. It sort of sank in a little bit after that," Croker told AAP.

"While we didn't win I thought we played pretty well and we had every chance to win.

"We gave ourselves a chance to win that game but we weren't good enough in the end but I'm very proud of the way the boys handled the situation and the whole week."

The challenge for Croker and the rest of the Raiders will be overcoming their heartache to back up their 2019 heroics.

While winger Jordan Rapana has since departed for Japanese rugby union, Croker believes the team spirit and belief which lifted the Raiders through 2019 remains.

"Just because you had one good year, it's not going to happen again this year," he said.

"We've got a lot of hard work to do beforehand and at the end of the day we didn't win the comp so we've got a lot more to work on but I'm confident in the playing squad that we have there that we can do that."

Australian Associated Press