TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 28: Jarrod Croker of the Raiders looks on during the round eight NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Canberra Raiders at 1300SMILES Stadium on April 28, 2018 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has revealed that Jarrod Croker is facing a new injury problem which has delayed his start to the 2022 NRL season.

Croker was originally overlooked for a Round 1 loss to the Cronulla Sharks, with Stuart wanting to ease him back in through the NSW Cup.

Instead, James Schiller and Matthew Timoko were selected in the centres for the game, with Sebastian Kris also missing out in a surprise move.

Croker was unable to take to the field in the reserve grade contest though, being a late withdrawal from Canberra's loss to the Newtown Jets at Henson Park.

It was anticipated Croker would then be named for this week's New South Wales Cup clash at Homebush against the Canterbury Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon, however, Stuart told AAP that, after recovering from knee and shoulder surgeries to play in the NRL trials, he has suffered a bulging disc in his back.

"It's only hit him in this off-season and it's something now that we've got to overcome," Stuart said.

"I feel the frustration of Toots.

"He was very eager to get out there and play last week and I feel the disappointment but we've just got to get him right."

Croker was on the verge of medically retiring before the season got underway, with a last ditch stem cell surgery saving his career.

It's unclear how long the injury will keep him out for at this stage.

The Raiders will play their Round 2 clash on Saturday evening in Townsville against the North Queensland Cowboys.